By Shane Frederick
Free Press Staff Writer
When Savannah Quandt was a sophomore and committed to play college hockey at Minnesota State, she was being recruited as a forward.
Two years later, Mavericks coach Eric Means says he’s getting one of the best defensemen in the state.
“It’s changed in terms of the options we have available to her,” Means said on Wednesday. “It’s a credit to her.”
Quandt, a senior for the Mankato East/Loyola girls hockey team, made her commitment official on Wednesday morning when she signed her letter of intent.
“I’m officially a Maverick,” she said.
One game into her sixth and final season of high school hockey, Quandt has 122 goals and 74 assists for the Cougars. Since the team started keeping track of plus-minus statistics three years ago, she is plus-116.
Last season, East/Loyola coach Nate Fuller moved the 5-foot-9 Quandt from forward to defense where the Cougars needed help. Fuller said the position more suited her physical, aggressive style of play, anyway, and she could continue to provide offense from the point.
“Our intent is to keep her back there,” Means said. “She has good size, she’s strong and she can shoot the puck like a college player already. And she’s got a great attitude.”
Fuller said Quandt’s commitment to MSU more than 2 1/2 years ago and Wednesday’s signing have been a boon to his program, which is currently ranked No. 13 in Class A.
“It’s great accomplishment for her and a great sign of what has happened to our program,” Fuller said. “She has worked very hard, and she deserves to move on and play at the Division I level. And it’s helped the whole team to keep moving in that direction.”
Quandt said her focus now is on the high school season.
“I’ll just approach it the same way I always do,” she said. “I’ll just keep working hard.”
Quandt is one of two defensemen who signed with the Mavericks on Wednesday. The other is Stillwater’s Sara Bustad. Bustad had 11 goals and 16 assists in 27 games last season.