Truter named ACHA Division I women’s hockey Player of Year as Lady Flames prep for national title defense
As Liberty University’s ACHA Division I women’s hockey team gears up for a potential record-setting fourth consecutive National Championship and fifth since 2015, junior forward and alternate captain Yannick Truter became the Lady Flames’ third player in the past four seasons to receive the Zoe Harris Award, recognizing her as the ACHA’s regular-season Player of the Year.
“Yannick is just a top-level athlete,” Liberty fifth-year Head Coach Chris Lowes said. “She’s one of the elite skaters, stick handlers, and goal scorers and has been a dynamic player in the league for the past three years. She does everything for us, plays in all situations as a two-way centerman and works hard without the puck. Obviously, as a captain, she’s a big part of the leadership and setting the standards and culture of our team. We are super excited for her and she is very deserving.”
Truter follows graduate defenseman Dana McLeod who won the award last season and joined her on this year’s ACHA First team, and former forward Lauren McDonald who became the Lady Flames’ first recipient in 2019.
“It was a huge honor, and I am very thankful and blessed to be able to have gotten it,” Truter said. “The support I got from my teammates was just incredible, and so many of them could have won it as well. You can’t succeed if you don’t have people around you that are great hockey players, great friends, great teammates. It’s an honor to be able to wear a letter on this team and to play with girls of such high caliber. I am grateful for the privilege of being able to play with them.”
Freshman forwards Brielle Fussy and Haley Battles landed on the ACHA DI All-Rookie team with Battles also named MVP of the Women’s Midwest College Hockey (WMCH) Tournament, which Liberty won for the third consecutive time last weekend in St. Louis. Battles, sophomore forwards Brityn Fussy and Carly Glover, graduate defenseman Sally Hoerr, and sophomore goalie Amanda Storey made the All-WMCH Tournament team.
Liberty (22-0), the No. 1-ranked team in the league since the start of the season, takes a 37-game winning streak into next week’s ACHA DI National Championships at the Centene Community Ice Center.
“We have a lot of momentum going in, being undefeated on the season,” Truter said. “Mostly, it’s going to be a mental thing for us, having to focus and compete at the best of our abilities.”
The Lady Flames, who are looking surpass Lindenwood (2008-10) to become the only team to win four consecutive and five total ACHA DI national titles, and No. 2-seeded Midland University will receive byes through the first two rounds before playing the lowest remaining seeds out of the eight teams playing for six quarterfinal spots.
“You’ve just got to be ready because in single elimination hockey, anything can happen,” Lowes said.
“It’s going to take a lot of focus, mental and emotional preparation for us to be ready to give it our all and give 100 percent on the ice,” Truter added. “Even though we are undefeated on the season, taking a shift off is definitely not an option, because you never know what is going to happen at nationals. It’s make-or-break time.”
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer