Denfeld News

Feb. 7, 2008
Duluth News Tribune

Denfeld goalie Bellamy knows hockey
By Andy Greder

In the wee hours of the morning, Laura Bellamy’s head can be found sweating in a hockey helmet, not resting comfortably on a pillow.

The Duluth junior goalie cultivates her hockey skills at the Tawni and Brook Mattila family ice rink, often deflecting shots past midnight.

“I can’t get enough,” said Bellamy of her love for the sport.

Bellamy leads the Northern Stars against Cambridge-Isanti-Mora in the Section 7AA quarterfinals at 7 p.m. today at the DECC.

“She knows hockey,” Duluth co-head coach Amber Fryklund said. “She watches games and she is a student. She is a special player. There aren’t many that have those qualities and love the game as much as she does.”

Bellamy has a 1.71 goals-against average, a .931 save percentage and five shutouts in 24 games, but those numbers wouldn’t exist without her diligence.

“We’d skate until four, five in the morning some days,” junior varsity teammate Brook Mattila said. “We’d also be out there the next morning. We’d go when we wanted.”

Bellamy was incessantly peppered with shots from Tawni, Brook’s older sister and a junior center for Minnesota Duluth.

“She would shoot on me until I couldn’t get up,” said Bellamy of the one-on-one games they’d play. “I always said it was easier for her to win, but that was probably because she was so good.”

The Mattila rink also was the site of a December team-bonding outing. Fryklund didn’t want to have practice, so she commissioned her four captains — Megan Stingle, Taylor Stutsman, Ashley Birdsall and Madison Armstrong — to hold a team event.

The Northern Stars used the coach-free outing to let loose and scrimmage.

“You make the team chemistry better when you play with each other outside,” Bellamy said. “And you can get creative.”

During some Mattila rink pick-up games, Bellamy will skate and let one of her teammates put on the goalie pads to take incoming pucks.

“The equipment is so heavy, and it’s funny to see them try,” said Bellamy, who attends Denfeld High School.

When Bellamy is out of the net, she uses her goalie knowledge to beat the amateur in pads.

“When she isn’t in net, she is a leading scorer,” Brook Mattila said. “She knows the spots where to beat the goalie.”

In a Northern Stars jersey, Bellamy dispenses knowledge to her defenders.

“She talks to me a lot,” said junior defender Tyra Kerr. “Not a lot of goalies talk, but she lets us know what she sees. She gives good points. She can see it all. Not all goalies have a lot of info to give.”

Bellamy doesn’t have to remind her teammates how Duluth concluded last season — a loss to Cambridge-Isanti-Mora in the section quarterfinals.

“We definitely want revenge,” said Kerr, whose team beat Cambridge-Isanti-Mora 2-0 in the Schwan’s Cup on Dec. 26. “We won’t take them lightly. They will know we are coming because we’ve had a pretty good season. We want them to be scared.”

Duluth (15-5-4) has seven seniors, and Bellamy understands the importance of playing well when it matters most.

“This is the best team that has been put together in Duluth,” said Bellamy, who touts five years of varsity experience. “We have a lot of depth, and it should be our year if we are able to put it together. There is some urgency with seven seniors. We want to go out on top.”

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