Whittling down a staggering number of high-quality girls high school hockey players isn't easy, nor does it approach anything resembling easy. Players are selected based on their body of work, and are not limited to senior skaters or senior goaltenders.
Players, especially at the high school level, are judged based on several factors outside their control. The strength of a player's schedule, injuries, and time away from the team playing in international competitions were all aspects taken into consideration by the Youth Hockey Hub editorial staff before picking the final five.
Obviously, numerous players just missed cut, and their absence from this list does nothing to disparage their high school season, prep careers, or their overall talent.
After weeks of debating among staff members and gathering feedback from high school coaches and players, the Youth Hockey Hub is proud to present the five finalists for our Girls High School Player of the Year Award.
Player: Hannah Corneliusen
College commitment: Merrimack
For the past three seasons, Hannah Corneliusen has terrorized the northland, piling up the points and powering Warroad to four Class 1A State Tournament appearances. A member of the vaunted Warroad varsity since her eighth-grade season, Corneliusen has totaled 142 goals and 221 points for her career as of the time this article was published.
What makes the Merrimack commit's scoring total even more impressive is the fact that all but four of her points were totaled during her sophomore, junior, and senior seasons, with her final campaign still in progress. The Warriors are 19-4-2 after concluding the regular season with a 9-6 loss to rival Roseau and are favored to advance to yet another Class 1A state championship game.
Hannah Corneliusen, Warroad.
Player: Uma Corniea
College commitment: Princeton
Yes, Corniea has been nominated for the Girls' High School Player of the Year Award. Yes, Corniea is a freshman. No, there is no good reason to leave her off this list.
The ninth-grader has already won a pair of state titles, picking up two Class 1A crowns as the goaltender for Breck, and has the No. 1-2A Hornets poised for a deep run towards a fourth consecutive Class 2A championship. Since transferring to Edina, Corniea has posted the best numbers of her career, recording 20 wins and a goals-against-average of 0.62 and a save percentage of .970. Her 20 victories after tops in the state, as are her GAA and SV% by a healthy margin.
Committed to Princeton, the constantly-smiling Corniea has a career record of 40-7-1 across nearly three full seasons between the pipes at the high school level.
Uma Corniea, Edina.
Player: Lily Delianedis
Team: The Blake School
College commitment: Cornell
Delianedis hovers near the top of the state's scoring charts in both goals and points with 38 and 64, respectively, with the Bears still having a regular-season matchup on the schedule for Wednesday night.
The senior has averaged 2.67 points-per-game during her 2019-2020 campaign. In her five varsity seasons, the Cornell commit has scored 116 goals and added 121 assists for 237 points. Crafty and quick on her feet, not to mention clutch, Delianedis has 22 game-winning goals during her high school career.
Lily Delianedis, Blake.
Player: Peyton Hemp
College commitment: Minnesota
Despite missing part of the season to skate for Team USA at this year's Under-18 Women's World Championships, Hemp has totaled 22 goals and 42 points for the No. 2-2A Huskies. Hemp is one of the state's best when it comes to physical play, combining power with soft hands and a pure scorer's touch. At the risk of making a National Hockey League comparison, Hemp's intensity, leadership, and aggressiveness are traits reminiscent of former Phoenix Coyotes and St. Louis Blues star Keith Tkachuk. In her three varsity seasons, the junior Minnesota commit has recorded a plus/minus of +152.
Peyton Hemp, Andover.
Player: Sydney Langseth
Team: Eden Prairie
College commitment: Minnesota State (Mankato)
Another nominee capping a remarkable high school journey, Langseth has 29 goals and 63 points this season, helping the Eagles to the second seed in a tough Class 2A, Section 2. Langseth has a state title under her belt from 2016 and played a key role by assisting on the eventual game-winning goal in the Eagles' 1-0 semifinal win over Edina. The Minnesota State commit is a proven winner, claiming victory in 94 games throughout her five seasons with the Eden Prairie varsity.
Sydney Langseth, Eden Prairie.