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Many are graduates of the Sudbury Lady Wolves women’s hockey program who have had to adjust to the difference of accepting an NCAA scholarship and moving south of the border.

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Many of these adjustments are familiar to local hockey players: big fish in a small pond became small fish in a big pond; the sudden requirement for greater patience when ice time is significantly reduced, compared to the athlete’s norm in minor hockey; simply living in a foreign country, in some cases studying in a completely different language than their high school diploma.

Mireille Kingsley was more than ready for all of the above.

And yet, when it comes to goaltenders in women’s hockey, there’s another twist.

Rarely, if ever, have these puck keepers who enjoy substantial success at younger ages faced anything more than two allowed goals in a single game; the exception, perhaps, might be if they are still competing against male rep teams in their later years.

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In college, however, this will most certainly happen.

Thankfully, Kingsley still singles out one of those games as one of his most memorable moments from his first two years with the Providence Friars — a highlight of sorts, as the dust has settled.

“I remember playing at U Conn (University of Connecticut, Nov. 19, 2021),” Kingsley recalled recently, preparing to start his junior season at Rhode Island this fall. “It didn’t start well at all. We had a breakdown from the whole team, including me, in the first five seconds of the game and they scored.

Kingsley is a little hard on herself – the Huskies actually opened the scoring at 0:39 of the first period

“We came back and tied it at 3-3 and won in the shootout. After the game, my coach admitted it wasn’t a good start, but he loved the way I bounced back. You can score three goals while playing a good game and giving your team a chance to win. »

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Mireille Kingsley has always done it – and continues to do so.

After playing just one game in her COVID-shortened freshman campaign, the Notre Dame College grad has played 14 games in 2021-22, posting a 1.65 goals-against average and .939 save percentage. .

And although she must continue to fight for playing time with German national team goalkeeper Sandra Abstreiter (entering her sixth and final year at Providence, including a redshirt and COVID year), Kingsley remains just as committed as the day she left Sudbury on after winning a silver medal at the Esso Cup Nationals in the spring of 2019.

“I would say I definitely learned a lot in my two years there,” she said. “My freshman year was so different than any other year, both with COVID and not really playing any games. I had to learn a lot from that. Last year was definitely a lot more fun in the sense that I got to play a lot more games, learning as I went.

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About halfway through her NCAA journey, Kingsley is more than a little grateful for much of what she’s been through so far, including her growth as a goaltender, progress that was made without having to deviate significantly from everything that allowed him to shine in Sudbury.

“Hopefully I’m more confident now on the ice, especially compared to the midget, but I think my game has stayed relatively the same,” suggested the multi-sport talent who also qualified for OFSAA in the athletics events. “No coach has tried to really change my game, which I appreciate.

“They improved my skills. The game is much faster, which you sort of learn as you go.

And while life in the smallest of US states may be different from what it’s experienced before, Kingsley suggested there are comfort zones that make the transition easier.

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“One thing I really like is that my school is a pretty small school, so it still feels like a pretty small community – and the (academic) teams are really close together.

“You always have that support.”

Despite her impressive resume – Kingsley was one of the few U18 goaltenders invited to attend a Hockey Canada camp in Calgary in the summer of 2019 – the 5ft 9in biology and high school major was limited to just 6:35-game time in the season in his rookie year.

“It was definitely an adjustment for me at the start, not starting games, but I think I was able to handle it pretty well,” she said. “It forced me to work harder and push more instead of stepping back and accepting it.”

Abstreiter having left the German national team last winter, the door opened for Kingsley, the talented from the North responded with a 2-1 victory against Union and a huge 2-1 victory of 42 saves against Boston College during of his first two official starts in the NCAA. .

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“I was lucky to have success in those first two games,” she said. “It gave me that confidence, but it also gave our coaches some confidence in me from the start, which was great.”

Located only about 45 minutes from the resort community of Newport, RI, Providence is at the center of many beautiful sights, most of which go unnoticed during the excitement of hockey season.

“During the year, we don’t have a lot of time to do touristy things,” Kingsley said. “I was able to go there this summer to take a course and train there, so we were able to do more things on the weekends. It’s beautiful, especially in the summer.

The hope for Kingsley is to continue making memories, on and off the ice – something that can often be accomplished through the eccentricity of NCAA student bodies.

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“In Vermont, their fanbase beats anybody else,” Kingsley said. “We faced them when their arena was packed. Even playing an away game in a crowded arena is fun.

“At UNH (University of New Hampshire), the first base you let in, they throw a fish at you. I haven’t experienced that yet, which is good,” she added with a smile.

If and when she does, even if it is in the first minute of the match, Mireille Kingsley will experience it now armed with the confidence that comes from knowing that a goal, a single goal, is not on the not to define it.

Randy Pascal’s That Sudbury Sports Guy column is a regular feature in the Sudbury Star.


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