Megan Beswitherick and the Assiniboine Community College (ACC) Cougars are pursuing the lustrous three-peat this season. ACC is coming off an incredible year where they went to St. Louis and captured their second straight ACHA Division 2 National Championship.
Beswitherick was in her freshman year in 2021-22 and says she's coming into this season with added confidence after seeing so much success.
"It's definitely nice to enter the season knowing what to expect because last year I'd never seen any games in this league," Beswitherick explains. "Now I know exactly how everyone plays and how I can prepare myself."
The Austin product finished her rookie campaign with a 0.90 goals-against-average, a 0.952 save percentage, and an 8-0 record. Beswitherick didn't disappoint in the postseason either, as she went 3-0 in the ACHA Women's Nationals while only giving up two goals en route to becoming a champion.
Due to last year's excellence, she expects the Cougars to have a target on their back all season long.
"Our coach always trains us to have the mentality that we are defending our title and that people are going to be gunning for us. Beating us in their mind would be an extra win," Beswitherick continues. "People are going to be geared toward beating us throughout the year. So, we are here to defend what we've worked for the last few years."
The goaltender notes they have had quite a bit of turnover from last season, as only their top line is still intact from the championship team. Despite the changes, Beswitherick says it hasn't been too difficult to integrate the new faces.
"It actually has been pretty easy. About half of our team is new, so we've just been welcoming them all in and showing them what our team atmosphere is really like. They've really accepted it and are now doing the same thing and buying in as much as we would like them to."
With their first exhibition game taking place on Saturday, Beswitherick notes they're still working out some of the kinks, with their main focus being on teamwork and the simple things.
The 19-year-old adds this season they will have the opportunity to travel outside of the country much earlier for games as the COVID-19 obstacles are much less severe.
"I'd say that's my favourite part about being a part of thing program, being able to travel with my teammates and just being able to see a bunch of new places that I probably never would've seen," says Beswitherick. "St. Louis and now possibly Boston with nationals, those are very exciting places with very different cultures, and we're super grateful to be able to see all of those places."
Beswitherick and the Cougars will begin their regular season on November 5th as they welcome the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to the Sportsplex in Brandon.