Rachel Anderson - the reigning NCHA Women's Conference Player of the Year - earned another award on her stand-out hockey resume when she was named Offensive Player of the Week for her efforts last weekend.  In an interview with, the Shoreview, Minnesota native focused on the positives from a loss to Gustavus, cemented her stance that shots on goal don't tell the story of a hockey game and said she feels stronger this season because of her time in the weight room this off-season.  She also had some great thiings to say about her relationship with assistant coach, Julianne "Montana" Vasichek, who was promoted to full-time assistant coach this year.  Vasichek won two national championships as a player with Minnesota-Duluth and more recently survived a liver transplant nearly five years ago.

St. Scholastica fell 2-1 to visiting Gustavus on Friday, November 1.  The Saints were outshot 19-1 in the opening period but settled in the second and third, being outshot just 16-10.

ANDERSON: There were a lot of first game jitters, which I think was a good thing.  Getting those little butterflies out of our stomachs in the first period against Gustavus, we had a lot of momentum in the second.  Too many penalties, which kind of killed our momentum at times.  That was probably the biggest issue from the Friday game ... (Goalie Lexi Thomeczek) did her part to keep us in the game.  Basically the entire game.  It was a matter of the forwards doing our part, putting pucks in the net ... We had some good chances to score in that game ... This week in prax, we are going to key on converting on our chances.  We don't need a lot of shots as long as they are quality shots.  (Coach Jackie MacMillin) tells us that all the time. 

On Saturday the Saints bounced back and defeated then-No. 5 St. Thomas.  Anderson scored twice in the third period to overcome a 1-0 deficit in the third period. 

ANDERSON: A lot of us had fuel added to our fire for the Saturday game.  I don't think a lot of us played how we wanted to.  I don't think we had a bad game, but we just didn't play the way we wanted to.  Going into Saturday, everyone had positive attitudes.  Not as many nerves going into that game.  People had positive attitudes on the bench, that helped a lot.

Trailing 1-0 as they sat in the locker room on Saturday, Anderson and the Saints were facing an 0-2 start.  Victories when trailing entering the third period are uncommon in the NCHA and most of college hockey. 

ANDERSON: No one really seemed down.  Our 4th line gave us a lot of energy.  Attitudes were positive, after every single shift.  That was what helped us get the two goals in the third period.  It's hard to come back from a 3rd period deficit.

Anderson tied the game with a goal at 2:30 of the period.  Lauryn Hull got the single assist. 

ANDERSON: It all started with our forecheck.  My linemate Lauryn, she did a great job.  Got the puck to me and I was able to put it in the net.

Less than four minutes later, Anderson gave the Saints the lead.  Sam Gorecki and Taylor Thompson got the helpers.

ANDERSON: That goal came off the forecheck, too.  We put good pressure on their D.  Sam Gorecki broke up a pass and then found me.

Anderson grabbed the NCHA's highest honor when she was named Player of the Year last season - and she was just a sophomore.  What's new for year three of college hockey?

ANDERSON: I'm feeling more comfortable in the weight room.  I'm not the strongest or biggest player.  That was the message last year, from Jackie and Montana, that I needed to get stronger.  Montana would joke last year about how I could get knocked off the puck.  She just kept telling me, "keep working out." 

The entire team is excited to have Vasichek make the move from strength coach to full-time assistant.  Vasichek provides loads of knowledge, wonderful perspective on life and a guaranteed smile. 

ANDERSON: I've been close with her since freshman year.  Hearing her stories about life and hockey and everything, she has a completely different perspective on it than the rest of us.  We're so happy to have her as an assistant coach now.  Unbeleiveable.  She has so much knowledge.  With the position we're in this year, being a championship contender, and her being a former national champion, she knows what it's like to have the pressure on.  She's super encouraging and motivating.  I love going into her office to talk to her about nothing or everything.  She has a great attitude about life, which some of us can take for granted.  We focus on the little things that don't really matter sometimes.  She brings us back in, makes us realize we should be greatful to be playing this sport.

The Saints host Augsburg this Saturday and Sunday in Duluth.

ANDERSON: Off last weekend, I think we need ot get off to a good start.  Get the momentum going earlier, that will help us in the end.  Build off our game last Saturday, keeping the energy up on the bench and staying positive, even if we get down a goal.