March 29, 2009
Harvard-bound Bellamy leads girls hockey
By Jon Nowacki
Goalie Laura Bellamy was a wide-eyed seventh-grader
when she made her first varsity appearance in 2004 against mighty
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton and standout netminder Johanna Ellison.
Bellamy more than held her own that first season
and now plans on following a similar path as Ellison by playing
Division I hockey at a Boston-area college.
Bellamy, who is bound for Harvard, should have
what it takes to make it in the Ivy League: The Duluth Denfeld senior
is a 4.0 student and the 2009 News Tribune player of the year. Bellamy’s
two official college visits were to Harvard and Minnesota Duluth.
“It’s nothing against UMD,”
said Bellamy, who is planning to study pediatric medicine. “Both
universities have great women’s hockey programs and much more
to offer beyond hockey, but in the end Harvard was just a better
Like Ellison, Bellamy was an Associated Press
all-state selection and Minnesota senior goalie of the year.
This season Bellamy went 14-3, with a .922 save
percentage and career-best 1.38 goals-against average for the Duluth
Northern Stars (19-5-3), but the year ended on a sour note: Not
only did Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall rally to beat Duluth 4-3 in
the Section 7AA semifinals, but Northern Stars co-coaches Amber
Fryklund and Jim Knapp opted to start up-and-coming sophomore Paige
Turner. Bellamy, a six-year starter, watched her final prep game
from the bench.
“I never expect to start. I always work
to start, and so I always made sure I was working my hardest, every
practice, every game, every chance I got,” Bellamy said. “I
thought I had been playing well and was surprised, but I still needed
to be the most vocal player on the team. My team still needed me,
so in the locker room and on the bench, I tried to do what I could.”
Bellamy, one of eight Duluth seniors, always dreamed
of making the state tournament. While she admitted she was disappointed,
she is diplomatic discussing it now.
“You’ve just got to remember that
in the end it’s just a game and you have to move on,”
Bellamy said. “PHM deserved a lot of credit for the way they
played. They had almost 30 shots and sometimes the tough ones go
in, and there’s no doubt, if I would have been in net, that
could have happened to me, too. We still had a great year.”
Turner made 10 starts on the season and finished
with similar statistics to Bellamy.
Fryklund downplayed the decision and said it was
just part of the goalie rotation, decided on a game-to-game basis.
If the Northern Stars had won, Bellamy might have started the next
game. Fryklund expects Bellamy to do well at Harvard.
“It takes a special person to succeed at
an Ivy League school, and Laura has the intelligence to handle it,”
Fryklund said. “She is the type of person who will do whatever
it takes to make it work.”
Bellamy is going into her sixth season as a starter
in softball, but she has always loved hockey, which she has played
since she was 3. Her father, Dick, helped lead Duluth East to the
state hockey tournament in 1975, and her brother Cory was a Hunters’
goalie. Now she will try to take the next step.
Helping in her development was her goalie coach,
Dave Ellison, who is Johanna’s father. After graduating from
Cloquet in 2005, Johanna Ellison attended Boston College for two
years, wasn’t happy and returned home, where she eventually
starred for UMD.
That is where Bellamy hopes the similarities end.
While she hopes to excel in college as Ellison did, Bellamy hopes
it will be at her first choice: Harvard.
“I really like the Boston area and think
it has a lot to offer, athletically, academically and just as far
as getting a great experience away from home,” Bellamy said.
“I just knew that it was Harvard, and deep down, that was
what I wanted to do.”
7th grade: 13-6-1, 2.16 GAA, 0.91 save percentage
8th grade: 6-7-2, 2.87 GAA, 0.87 save percentage
9th grade: 7-19-0, 4.62 GAA, 0.88 save percentage
10th grade: 15-8-2, 1.71 GAA, 0.93 save percentage
11th grade: 15-5-4, 1.71 GAA, 0.93 save percentage
12th grade: 14-3-0, 1.38 GAA, 0.92 save percentage
Career record: 70-48-9