Oct. 29, 2012
At age 15, Noora Räty started in goal for Finland at the 2006 Winter Olympics. At the time, it may have seemed hard to believe that she would experience anything else that exciting again in her athletic career.
But Räty has continued to add memorable moments in her time at Minnesota. She guarded the net for the Golden Gophers in their national title run last season, and on Saturday, she left another permanent mark on the program by setting the school record for wins with 84.
It was no sure thing that Räty would break the record this weekend. Going up against No. 8 North Dakota, the Gophers entered the third period on Saturday tied at 1-1. A barrage of third-period goals lifted them to at 5-1 victory. Räty made 21 saves against one of the Gophers’ biggest rivals.
“They have such a good team,” she said. “We came out pretty bad, but it was a good thing we were able to pick it up. It feels better getting (the record) against North Dakota than some other team.”
After garnering another win over UND on Sunday, Räty owns a career record of 85-17-8. The All-American and three-time Patty Kazmaier nominee’s biggest single-season win total came last year when she played all but one game and went 33-5-2 in the net. Aside from the championship game, another win in particular stands out from among the 84. Räty said that the Gophers’ 1-0 shutout against Wisconsin on Jan. 7 last season was important.
“I had a pretty rough time before that game,” she said. “Then when I got that shutout, I started playing better and better, so it was kind of like a changing point for me last year.”
Räty said it felt good to hold the record, considering all the great goalies that have come before her. She also credited her teammates for helping her get to this milestone, but with one more down, the Gopher senior has her eyes set on a couple others at the national scale, including the NCAA record for wins and shutouts. Currently, she is 15 from tying the wins record and nine off the shutout record.
“I focus on one game at a time, because I know if I take one game, eventually I will get those,” Räty said. “But once in a while during the week, I think about those a little bit because that’s good motivation to think about those. It makes me play better.”