Rebecca Hendrickson has made quite a name for herself in her senior season as goaltender of the Richfield girls hockey team.
The Spartans' final line of defense since her freshman year, this season Hendrickson leads the state in saves (803 as of Jan. 27), while routinely facing 50 or more shots per game.
She has made as many as 64 stops in one game, yet needed just six saves to record her one shutout of the winter to date.
With her final campaign as Richfield goalie coming to a close with the regular season ending on Feb. 5, Hendrickson sat down with Richfield Patch to chat about hockey, school, Richfield and her future.
Richfield Patch: When did you get your start in hockey?
Hendrickson: I started when I was about 8 [years old] ... I used to strap goalie pads and pillows to my legs with Ace bandages—it was wierd, but I really liked playing in goalie.
Richfield Patch: What's it like being called on to make an average of over 40 saves per night?
Hendrickson: I think it's easier to make 40 saves than 20 saves. When you are just making 20 saves, there's moments where there's a lull, but when you are making 40 saves it is much more consistent. I much prefer a game where it's always exciting and you are always going something.
Richfield Patch: Have you been happy with your Richfield experience?
Hendrickson: It's funny, because my parents used to ask me if I wanted to play anywhere else and I would tell them, "No." I've always wanted to play for Richfield all these years.
Richfield Patch: Has it been a difficult season for you?
Hendrickson: It's sad the way our program has been going down in numbers and less girls are playing for Richfield. But, I have love being part of this team. Obviously we've struggled this year and haven't won too much, but I've got a lot of Richfield pride and love playing for my school.
Richfield Patch: Do you find the focus is on you more because of how many shots you face?
Hendrickson: I think just in general the goalie stands out because there's only one like them for each team on the ice, but especially when you're making 40-50 saves a game, I think I get a lot of attention that way. But it's still a team effort out there.
Richfield Patch: Your senior season is coming to a close, how would you like it to end?
Hendrickson: I hope we can keep Hill-Murray close. It's always a tough game. In general, I just hope for a strong finish from everyone.
Richfield Patch: What's your plans for after you graduate from Richfield?
Hendrickson: I'm leaning on playing hockey for Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. Their coach, [Brett Bruininks], used to coach at Holy Angels, so he's seen me play ... I actually go for an interview on Feb. 7 to possibly get up to a full-ride scholarship for academics.
Richfield Patch: What would you like to study in college?
Hendrickson: I can major in physics at Concordia for three years, then transfer and major in engineering ... I would like to design roller coasters, but anything where I could tie in using math and physics.
Richfield Patch: What's a life lesson you've learned from playing goalie?
Hendrickson: If you get down, don't give up — keep going. You can't just say, "Oh, they've scored four goals, that's it, I'm done." You've got to keep pushing and keep trying.
After a game at Simley on Friday night, Hendrickson and her Spartans teammates close out the regular season with three home games at the Richfield Ice Arena on the evenings of Feb. 1, 4 and 5 before beginning the sectional playoffs against a yet-to-be determined opponent.