The Golden Gophers women's hockey team is having a record-breaking season.
Goaltender Noora Raty has tied the record for most career NCAA wins. Raty grew up in Finland and moved to Minnesota to join the Gophers in 2009.
Raty spoke at the team's arena Wednesday about her final season with the Gophers and the pressures of the sport.
"Just feels good, it's something big always to break some NCAA history," Raty said. "I can't thank my teammates enough for being so awesome and I can't thank Coach (Brad) Frost enough for trusting me so much throughout these four years and giving me starts every weekend."
Frost says Raty's mental toughness has helped the women's hockey team achieve a winning streak of 34 games — an NCAA record.
"She's appropriately aggressive on the ice and makes some great saves, but she hates getting scored on, which is a great thing for a goalie," Frost said. "But mentally, she's very strong, which also is another facet of her game that speaks volumes to her."
Frost hopes to continue the team's winning streak when the Gophers face one of their biggest rivals, the University of Minnesota - Duluth Bulldogs. The game begins 6 p.m. Friday at the University of Minnesota's Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.
Q: To get yourself in the mindset for a game, how do you do that?
Noora Raty: I actually do a lot of visualizing and stuff, so try to play like different situations in my head, and just try to make saves in my head. I think that helps, helps a lot. And just do same things on a game day. Just daily routine and not do anything special on game days.
What kind of mental concentration for a goalie is required?
Noora Raty: That's a huge aspect of your game. I've seen so many goalies that have just tremendous skills but their mental side is not that good. So you definitely have to have both.
Is there anything from being a goalie that carries over to outside of the rink?
Noora Raty: I don't know, my friends always say, 'You're like one of the most normal goalies I've ever met.' I feel like all the players and other people think that goalies are some weirdos and really like special or different people, but I would say we're just normal human beings.
Well always, when people ask you what position you play and you say goalie, everyone's always like, 'Oh, cool.' I mean you're kind of like an individual athlete, but you still play for a team.
That's a lot of pressure on you, too.
Noora Raty: Oh yeah, that's probably the most pressure you can have. I mean you let in one or two easy goals and then everyone's going to point fingers, 'Oh, that loss was your fault.' So it's a lot of pressure but I actually enjoy having it."