BRANDON, Manitoba – Nothing indicates the return of collegiate athletics quite like international travel.
That’s exactly the situation the Assiniboine Community College Cougars female hockey team and first-year go lie Megan Beswitherick are facing as the team prepares for its first trip across the border since the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to press pause back in 2020.
“Itʼs been a long couple of years waiting to be able to play hockey again and itʼs just super exciting to not only be able to get back on the ice but be in that team environment as well,” says Beswitherick.
Beswitherick and the rest of the Cougars team will be heading to Fargo, N.D., next month for a two-game set with North Dakota State University. The Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 games mark the final two of the calendar year for ACC on its American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) schedule.
This also marks Beswitherickʼs first time traveling stateside as a member of the Cougars. The Austin, Manitoba product picked up her first win between the pipes earlier this month after backstopping the Cougars to a 2-1 victory over Dakota College. Beswitherick didn’t let nerves affect her in her ACHA debut, posting a .971 save percentage while allowing just one puck past her on 34 shots.
ACC’s rookie netminder is a graduate of the U18 AAA Manitoba Female Hockey League where she was a key cog for the Central Plains Capitals over three seasons. She appeared in 55 games over that time posting career 2.94 goals against average and .917 save percentage.
“I’m very thankful for all the coaches (in the Central Plains system) and how they prepared us,” she says. “I learned a lot from my goalie coach Riley Sveistrup. He kind of overprepared me, in % good way, to come to this level. He’s really prepared me to take the next step not only in my skill level but work ethic and leaderships”
The 18-ye%r-oldʼs first impression of her new team is that itʼs loaded with skill. She says she hopes to improve every time she steps on the ice and always give her team chance to win.
“Lots %and lots of talent on that team,” Beswitherick says of her teammates. “I’ve played against most of the girls in the (U18) league and I was just %always super impressed by them %and now I get to play on the same team as them, and I’m just excited for what we can accomplish.”
Puck drop for game one of the weekend series is set for 7:30 p.m., Dec. 4 the John E. Carlson Coliseum.
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