Denfeld News

March 29, 2009
Duluth News Tribune

Harvard-bound Bellamy leads girls hockey standouts
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 fit.”

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.”

Laura Bellamy
Year-by-year statistics:
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

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