The Boston Shamrocks knew they were getting an extremely qualified temp in Lauren Hennessey.
She had played for the East Coast Wizards and was fully planning on joining the University of North Dakota from there.
She made her official visit on the day the coaching staff learned the North Dakota women’s hockey program was being cut. A goalie as good as Hennessey, however, wasn’t going to be a college free agent for long.
“I was talking to Lindenwood and I was possibly going there for 2017. That was at the same time that I was talking to North Dakota,” said Hennessey, of Lynnfield. “I chose the big hockey school, and we know what happened there. The [Lindenwood] coach recently reached back out to me. One of the goalies at Lindenwood suffered a concussion and is no longer able to play. That opened the door.”
She will pack up her goalie equipment and join Lindenwood with the season in progress just after Christmas.
“Honestly, it’s so exciting. I’m just excited to get a chance to play and prove myself at the NCAA Division 1 level,” said Hennessey.
Two years ago, Hennessey played for the Shamrocks’ Under-16 team under Molly Corl.
“Coming back this year was nice, as I knew some of the coaches and the girls,” said Hennessey. “This year, the team is really talented.”
Heading into December, Hennessey played in four JWHL league games for the Shamrocks. She was fourth in the league in save percentage (.933) among goalies with at least 100 minutes played.
“I feel like this season has really prepared me. I feel like we have a lot of great competition, a lot of great shooters on the team. I’m getting challenged at the right level, so when I jump [to college], I’ll be ready,” she added.
Hennessey has worked closely over the years with Steve Mastalerz, a goaltending coach with Mike Buckley’s GDS training school. Mastalerz and Buckley are both former UMass goalies, and Buckley is the current goaltending coach for the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. She said Mastalerz has really helped to develop her game.
“I think my quickness down low is definitely something that has separated me from other goalies,” she said. “I’ve always been quick to my feet. I’m able to move up and down quickly, and I can move left and right pretty quickly.”
She likes that Lindenwood still gives her the “big school” experience, but in a “cute town,” St. Charles, Mo.
“Everyone there is welcoming and ready to have me join,” Hennessey added.