For a sophomore, a game winning goal early in the season is exciting and an accomplishment of which to be proud. But what about five in just eight games? Gophers sophomore Sarah Potomak has done just that, getting her fourth and fifth game winning goals (one was also a part of a hat trick) against Ohio State this past weekend. What’s been been working so well for Potomak?
Team Play Big Part of Success
Before the season started, Gophers head coach Brad Frost emphasized better team play as being the key to Minnesota having a successful season after losing some of their heavy hitters. Not to downplay Potomak’s excellent effort, but solid team play has helped to boost her game. She’s had a few pretty set ups from linemate Dani Cameranesi, who has also stepped up her game in her senior season. Junior Kelly Pannek also has a few assists on Potomak’s goals, which has helped Pannek lead the WCHA in assists so far this season.
Effort and Taking Every Chance in the Offensive Zone
The other big thing that’s paying off for Potomak is constant effort. Several of Potomak’s game winners have come in the closing minutes of the game, like her goal with six minutes left in the third versus Ohio State, and a goal with one minute left in overtime against Minnesota-Duluth the previous weekend. The timing of those goals may make them seem planned, but really they were just a result of Potomak’s constant work in front of the net, generating good chances, and capitalizing on good plays from her teammates. If Potomak continues to get shots away and create solid chances, she should be scoring at least a point a game in the coming weeks.
Potomak’s newfound scoring prowess hasn’t gone unnoticed. Prior to scoring her hat trick and game winners last weekend, Potomak was named the WCHA Offensive Player of the Week for her standout performance and overtime goal versus a surging Minnesota-Duluth. It wouldn’t be surprising if she is mentioned again this week, either as an honorable mention or even as the winner for the second week in a row.
The Gophers will be taking on a surprising St. Cloud State team next weekend, and surely many eyes will be on Potomak.