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After three surgeries, Ryder ready to lead

November 4, 2011

“If she could stop the puck with her teeth, she probably would,” said captain of the women’s hockey team, Heather Horgen.

Horgen is talking about junior defenseman, Amanda Ryder. Ryder hasn’t had the typical four-year college hockey experience like most players. In 2009, the Falcons made it all the way to the National Tournament, however, Ryder did not play the entire tournament because she tore her medial collateral ligament (MCL) in the quarterfinals against Gustavus.

“There was two minutes left in the game before Nationals and I tore my MCL,” Ryder said. “It was devastating, but I enjoyed watching my team play.”

After Nationals were over, Ryder started doing rehab three times per week to gain strength back in her knee. “I was doing rehab with physical therapists three times a week for about two months,” said Ryder.

Ryder played her whole sophomore year healthy and then had surgery after the season.

“I had an arthroscopic knee scope on the same knee and then two weeks later I got a staff infection and had to go back to the hospital,” said Ryder.

In order to remove the infection, Ryder had to undergo a second surgery. After the surgery, Ryder said the doctors put a ‘pick line’ in her, which consistently fed her antibiotics. Unfortunately, after a couple days with the pick line, Ryder found out she was allergic to the antibiotics.

“After we figured out I was allergic, I had a full-body rash and I had to go back to the hospital,” said Ryder.

Ryder played a couple games her third year, but ended up red-shirting because of a third surgery she had last January. “The staff infection left a lot of scar tissue and I didn’t have the basic range of motion in my knee that a 20-year-old should have,” said Ryder.

In Ryder’s last surgery, she had the scar tissue removed from her knee and then she did rehab for a year. Now Ryder said she is healthy and looking forward to a great season.

“I plan to play the whole season, I feel ready and confident with all the rehab I’ve done these past years,” said Ryder. “I think this year looks promising.”

In his 13th year as the Falcon women’s hockey coach, Joe Cranston has watched Ryder go up and down over the last four years.

“We have to plan for if Ryder gets hurt,” Cranston said. “Which is the reason why we decided to carry an extra defenseman this year.”

So far, Cranston has high hopes for Ryder. “She’s been looking really good in practice,” Cranston said. “Everyone knows Ryder is a dominant player on the ice and a big-time advantage to the team.”

Cranston said that he thinks Ryder will be a huge impact in March when playoffs start since she’s never played in an NCAA game due to injuries.

“She brings so much to the ice, but she’s also a big leader off the ice,” said Cranston.

The Falcons’ season opener is on Saturday, Nov. 5. They face the Adrian Bulldogs from Michigan. It is a “blackout” game where prizes and coupons to Chipotle will be given out. The puck will be dropped at 3:05 p.m.