Former Central Plains Capital Megan Beswitherick is an American Collegiate Hockey Association National Champion.
The goaltender was a big part of the Assiniboine Community Cougars, who were victorious at the ACHA Division 2 National Championship this past weekend in St. Louis. Beswitherick describes the feeling of winning it all.
"It was such an amazing feeling, even just competing at Nationals, let alone winning the whole thing," says Beswitherick. "Our coaches talked about it all year because this made it back-to-back championships for our coaches. They talked about it all the time during the season how it is such an amazing experience, and when we got there it was just as surreal as they led us to believe."
Beswitherick split time in net this year as a rookie for the Cougars, however, she picked up the start in the biggest game of them all, where she helped lead her team to a 2-1 victory to capture the championship. She outlines what it was like to play in the biggest game on the biggest stage.
"I am actually really good under pressure, so it was a lot of fun to me," Beswitherick continues. "I had no doubt in my mind that we were going to win because I trust my team so much. They kept the shots on me every game to 10 or less. They did the same in the final, even though it was a close game. They dominated the game, and it was amazing to watch my team work together like that."
The goalie says she never could have imagined her first year of college hockey being as successful as it was. She notes after getting to feel what it is like to win, Beswitherick is even more hungry to help the Cougars go for the three-peat next season.
The Austin, Manitoba product says her time as a member of the Central Plains Capitals was a huge factor in her becoming the player she is today.
"I learned a lot from my goalie coach Riley Sveistrup. He worked with me on my rebound control and my calmness in the net," says Beswitherick. "I had heard a lot of bad things about being calm in net, but he showed me that me being calm is the best thing for my team, and that's what my team really respects about me. Even when everything is on the line, I'm very relaxed and so sure of myself and my team that it makes them more confident as well."
Beswitherick adds the professionalism of the event was the main thing that she took away from the experience and notes she developed a routine during the process that she says she will continue to follow throughout her career.
"I get changed into my warm-up clothes right away and then, while the other girls are taping their sticks, I do some ball work," Beswitherick explains. "When we go for our team warm-up, I get dressed right away and visualize for about 5-10 minutes beforehand. When the coaches come in we go on. I have the same warm-up on the ice every time, and I always like to be done warm-up a couple of minutes before everyone, so I can reset myself. I'm also always the last one off the ice."
Beswitherick is proud of what she and her team were able to accomplish this season and notes she can't wait to go for the Cougars' third straight National Championship next season.