When women’s ice hockey netminder Jolene deBruyn entered the crease this season, she had big skates to fill.
She not only was replacing a graduating senior, but a highly decorated goalkeeper in Nicole Hensley. Hensley set an all-time NCAA record for saves and continues to play for the U.S. national team. But with 536 saves this season, the Lindenwood net looks to be in safe hands again with deBruyn.
deBruyn’s saves have given her a .916 save percentage through 19 games this season. In conference play, deBruyn leads all goalies with 468 saves, 33 better than the next-closest rival, Terra Lanteigne from Rochester Institute of Technology.
Her performances on the ice have earned her College Hockey America’s goalie of the week award three times. The criminology major has also been honored in the classroom, being named to College Hockey America’s All-Academic Team in 2015/2016.
deBruyn hails from Grand Prairie, Alberta, and came to Lindenwood from St. Francis Xavier High School. In addition to playing high school hockey, deBruyn represented the Alberta U18 team and participated in the 2015 Canada Winter Games.
Coach Scott Spencer described his then-recruit as “a very calm, technical goalie that has big save capabilities.”
The Alberta native said a few factors shaped her decision to come to Lindenwood.
“The size of the campus was the right fit for me and the whole school is supportive of all athletic programs, which makes everything easier,” she said.
Hensley, who is now an assistant coach for the team, said because deBruyn is taller than her, they approach play differently.
“Where I have to be more aggressive to make myself bigger, she doesn’t have to be,” Hensley said. “She is very calm and collected during games and does not get rattled easily, which I think is one of her best goaltending qualities.”
The success of the Lindenwood sophomore is a result of her collected attitude on the ice, extra preparation and mental toughness, according to Hensley.
“She always bounces back when something doesn’t go as planned, which is a quality that most goalies lack,” Hensley said. “Her ability to adjust and bounce back mentally is one of her best qualities.”
One game that stood out in deBruyn’s season was against Robert Morris University. Against the Pioneers, deBruyn had 36 saves, including 21 in the second period, and helped Lindenwood to a 2-1 upset victory.
“There were multiple opportunities for them [RMU] to tie the game,” said defender Carrie Atkinson. “Many goaltenders may crumble under the pressure in that situation. Jo stood on her head for us and did an awesome job, even stopping a breakaway.”
deBruyn remains positive for the rest of the season.
“I’m hoping we settle down and really give it our all in our last few games and have a good run going into the playoffs,” she said.