COURNOYER'S QUIET CONFIDENCE
Monday, October 29, 2012
Few players get as much attention on the ice as Audrey Cournoyer did last season, as the then-junior cashed in a career-high 48 points, including a team-high 22 goals for the Bulldogs. Ironically, though, Cournoyer is not the attention-seeking type. She would much prefer to let her playing skills speak so that she doesn’t have to.
It may have initially appeared a year ago that Cournoyer came out of nowhere with her eye-popping numbers (she averaged 1.33 points a skate), but one need look no further than her accession to the 100 career point club, which she reached on Feb, 25 with an assist against Ohio State. Cournoyer reached 100 points in less than three seasons, and over her career is averaging just under a point a game with a 0.92 points per game average.
“I do not feel like I played any differently last year than the other seasons, except that the bounces were on my side last year,” said Cournoyer. “If it is not the same this year, I will just have to work even harder to put the luck on my side.”
Cournoyer understands that her version of luck is steeped in working hard and doing the little things over and over until she gets them right. With those habits intact, her confidence, though outwardly quiet, has bloomed.
“I tried to work hard in practice and do the little things that can be a game changer, like squaring for rebounds,” said Cournoyer. “Through the years, I gained confidence because I knew the system, face-offs and the team mentality. I’m more at ease with the team and it has been reflected in my confidence.”
With work habits consistentally on display, Cournoyer’s quiet leadership skills earned her a spot as one of three assistant captains this year. Aware that she is not the most vocal player on the team, Cournoyer knows exactly where her leadership skills are most on display.
“I consider myself as someone that leads by example,” Cournoyer admits. “I work hard in practices and games and try and show the way for freshmen and other people on the team.“
“Audrey Cournoyer really stepped it up last year,” said Bulldog head coach Shannon Miller. “She produced because she worked and she’s a very talented player and she’s very smart, but the key to her success last year and her offensive production was work ethic.”
Off the ice, Cournoyer has earned a multitude of accolades based on her performance in the classroom. A two-time WCHA Scholar Athlete, the accounting major was also named to the Capital One Academic All-District Team last season, no easy feat for a student athlete who spends so much time on the road.
“When I am at the rink I focus only on hockey, but once I am out of the rink, my focus changes to what needs to be done in school,” said Cournoyer. “My grades were not important for me before, but in college it is about getting a career and it matters to me. It helps that there is another French person (Vanessa Thibault) in my classes, so we can organize our time and work together. Vanessa is a really studious person and it helped me become more studious as well.”
Cournoyer’s education over the past three years at UMD has been both on campus and at the rink, something the unassuming player acknowledges.
“I’ve become a more responsible and accountable person,” Cournoyer reflects. “On the ice I was always a player that sees the play, but now I am more aggressive and am willing to go in front of the net to score a goal. My way of thinking about the game changed. It is not only about pretty plays, but about getting points on the scoreboard as a team.”
Despite her aversion to attention, there is one form that Cournoyer certainly wouldn’t mind. She was a freshman when when UMD won its most recent NCAA title in 2010 at Ridder Arena, and now as a senior would like nothing more to return to the brightest spotlight in college hockey.
“I would love to end on a good note,” said Cournoyer. “We won freshmen year at Minnesota and nothing could be more perfect than winning there again.”
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