Star forward Taylor Heise leading Gophers women's hockey to #1 ranking

Taylor Heise (FOX 9)

The Gophers are going in the right direction as the postseason arrives for women’s college hockey.

After a 1-3 start, Minnesota is now number one in the country entering the first round of the WCHA Playoffs.

"Coming into the year, they were very determined," Gophers women’s hockey head coach Brad Frost said. "I think you’ve seen that with how they’ve played."

The best team in college hockey is also led by the best player.

Taylor Heise’s dream season is becoming a reality. The senior forward is a real threat to any opponent she faces this season, tallying the most points by anyone in the sport this year.

"I wanted to contribute and be at my best this year, and to prove to people who doubted me that I am someone to be reckoned with," Heise told FOX 9.

"I wanted to come out this year with that mentality of playing free and having a lot of fun," Heise added.

Heise leads NCAA D1 in total points with 60 and is the top goalscorer with 26, as well as top two for game-winning goals. She is also Top 3 for assisting her teammates, a stat line that speaks to her team-first style. 

"This year, I’ve been trying to focus on what I can do for other people," Heise said of her stat line this season.

"Unselfish," Frost said of his star senior’s play. "She does not care if she scores or gets an assist. She wants the team to win." 

Heise is the frontrunner for what is considered the Heisman of women’s college hockey: the Patty Kazmaier Award. A trophy only two Gophers have won. A potential Patty Kazmaier is quite the honor, but it is not the ultimate prize as Heise eyes a national title.

"Obviously it would be cool, but at the end of the day I want a natty," Heise said. "That’s what I’m going for."

The Gophers begin the postseason with the WCHA First Round this weekend. Minnesota hosts St. Thomas in a best-of-three series beginning on Friday.