Repke, Lindenwood ready for ACHA National Championships

By JAMES

ANDERSEN

News Sports Editor

In just two years, the Lindenwood University-Belleville women’s hockey program has come a long way

The same could be said for Amber Repke.

Now Repke and the Lady Lynx are hoping to elevate their program to a higher level.

Lindenwood is one of six teams competing in the women’s American Collegiate Hockey Association National Championships which begin today in Kalamazoo and run through Sunday.

Repke, a sophomore forward for the Lynx and former Alpena Warriors player, is in her second season with Lindenwood and has learned a great deal more about the game since arriving on campus.

“My college hockey experience has been great,” Repke said. “I’ve learned a heck of a lot more than I thought I could have. Going from feeling like I knew the sport to facing girls who are skilled and have gone all over the world to play (is amazing).”

In 23 games this season, Repke has four assists.

The Lynx will open tournament play against Grand Valley State at 11:30 a.m. today and will also have games against Liberty tomorrow at 7:45 p.m. and against Michigan at 5 p.m. Friday.

Other teams competing include Liberty, Miami (OH.), Adrian, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Lindenwood secured an automatic bid to the tournament after winning the Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League tournament title a few weeks ago. With an 18-6-2 record, the Lynx are hoping to prove themselves against some of the nation’s best teams after finishing sixth in the ACHA rankings.

“It’s a big deal (to make the playoffs). Last year we would have made the playoffs, but we had some issues,” Repke said. “We’ve expecting to fight hard and I expect us to compete and focus on winning in the tournament.”

A big part of Lindenwood’s success this season is due to new coach Katherine Hannah, a former All-American, who has fostered a winning environment.

“The head coach this year is phenomenal. She played and she understands what it takes to compete,” Repke said. “She focused on bringing us closer together as a family.”

In their inaugural season, the Lynx went 21-14-1, but missed the national tournament. Repke scored three goals and an assist in four games.

This season six teams return from last year’s postseason and Lindenwood and Grand Valley are the two newcomers. With better camaraderie this season, the Lynx are feeling more confident about their chances

“Coming together as a team. We have skill, but skill doesn’t always win, so it’s about 23 people coming together and bonding (at the right time),” Repke said. “I’m expecting us to be (right) there (in contention).”

In addition to furthering her hockey career and learning more about the game, Repke said her experience at Lindenwood has also been rewarding in other ways. She’s the third former Alpena Warriors player-along with Megan Martin and Kelli Adrian-to have the chance to play college hockey and hopes to inspire future girls hockey players who are yearning for such an opportunity.

“When you see a little girl who plays hockey and knows you because you play hockey, it’s a great feeling,” Repke said.

James Andersen can be reached via email at sports@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5694. Follow James on Twitter @ja_alpenanews.