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GHS: Games of the Week (Nov. 9-11)

By Derek Felska, 11/09/23, 11:45AM CST


From the snow-covered plains near Warroad to the lift bridge in Stillwater, we have our first Girls High School hockey game previews of the week for the 2023-24 season.

GHS Games of the Week (Nov. 9-11)

Ella Sanders, Simley

Simley at Holy Family Catholic 
November 9 (7 PM)
Victoria Ice Arena 

The Spartans had one of their best seasons in school history before falling in the Section 4A final 4-1 to arch-rival South St. Paul. Simley's attack will be led up front by sophomore Ella Sanders, as well as seniors Kelsi RiesVal DuVal, and Taylor Ralston. On defense, senior Hannah Kurowski and junior Courtney Kurowski will also have to step up into a more prominent role for the Spartans. At goaltender, junior Sydney Ries will likely resume her role as Simley's starter.

Like Simley, Holy Family also lost out in the section finals (2AA) in a 4-0 loss to Minnetonka. The Fire return last year's leading scorer in junior Josie Linn and sophomore Katya Sander, who give Holy Family plenty of scoring punch. Junior Casey Cronin and Maielle Schugel will be leaned upon to provide experience to a reconstituted Holy Family defense.

At goaltender, senior Quinn McDonald and junior Kayla Swartout had limited minutes last year playing behind New Hampshire-commit Sedona Blair, who graduated last year, so it will be interesting to see if one emerges as a starter or if the Fire utilizes a rotation.  

Josie Linn, Holy Family Catholic

Izy Fairchild, Proctor/Hermantown

Proctor/Hermantown at Warroad 
November 10 (7 PM)
Gardens Arena  

The Mirage finished 4th in the state in Class A last season, and they return a formidable lineup for 2023-24. At forward, seniors Hannah GravesHailey Jussila, and Izy Fairchild (Bemidji State commit), as well as junior Jane Eckstrom, give the Mirage plenty of skill and firepower up front.

On defense, seniors Morgan LaValley and Katie Sandelin will lead a retooled Proctor / Hermantown defense corps. Junior Neelah McLeod and sophomore Suri Langley give the Mirage one of the better and more experienced goaltending tandems in Class A as the team rotated between the two last season.  

Warroad rolled to a Class A title last season with a 3-1 victory over Orono. What can they do for an encore?

Losing three Division 1 recruits up front in Tayla Hendrickson(Bemidji State), Kate Johnson (Bemidji State), and Rylee Bartz (St. Thomas) to graduation will mean the Warriors will do some soul searching as it hopes to repeat. At forward, junior Kaiya Sandy and senior Madilyn Skogman will step up into bigger roles and attempt to lead the way offensively for Warroad.

On defense, junior Katie Comstock and sophomore Vivienne Marcowka will be tasked with limiting opposing scoring chances on a team that likely will have a different cushion of offense than the Warriors have enjoyed the last few seasons. In goal, sophomore Jordyn Werk will probably be a bit busier this season at her end of the ice.

Kaiya Sandy, Warroad

Ayla Puppe, Northfield

Northfield at Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian
November 11 (3 PM)
Mound Westonka High School 

The 2023-24 Raiders return with a bit of a chip on their shoulder after losing 5-3 to Lakeville North in the Section 1AA championship a season ago. Northfield is led by seniors Ayla Puppe (Minnesota commit), Emerson Garlie, and Isabelle Stephes (Wisconsin-River Falls commit). The trio will give the Raiders lots of skill and scoring up front. Freshman forward Emma Peroutka is a rising star.

On defense, seniors Grace McCoshen and talented sophomore Mia Miller are terrific two-way players who can chip in offensively and lock things down in their own zone. Junior Macy Muellercarried most of the Raiders' goaltending workload last season, and no doubt Northfield will lean on her again this season.  

With newly minted head coach Larry Olimb behind the bench, the Southwest Christian / Mound-Westonka White Hawks hope to improve upon their section 5A semi-final loss to Orono last season.

At forward, seniors Camryn Hargreaves and Greer Hardacre, as well as junior Gisella Harder and sophomore Lizzy Callahan, will shoulder most of the offensive workload for the White Hawks up front.

On defense, senior Natalie Miner and sophomore Ali Butler will be tasked with slowing down the Raiders' high-powered attack. Senior goaltender Ashlyn Roth was the White Hawks' workhorse last season, and no doubt she will carry most of those duties this season as well.      

Chloe Boreen, Hill-Murray

Hill-Murray at North Wright County 
November 11 (3 PM)
Moose Sherritt Ice Arena 

It's not often a high school team can say they lost their coach to the professional ranks, but that is exactly what happened this summer when Natalie Darwitz left to build the new Minnesota PWHL program. No problem, the Pioneers circled the wagons and placed husbadn-and-wife duo John Pohl and Krissy Pohl (Wendell) on the bench to coach this promising east metro squad. John is currently Hill-Murray's Athletic Director, while Krissy is the school's Enrollment Manager for Grades 6-8. 

At forward, senior Chloe Boreen (St. Thomas commit), junior Regan Berglund, and freshman Emily Pohl should give Hill-Murray plenty of skill and scoring punch. On defense, junior Kasey Senden and sophomore Josie Skoogman will do their best to neutralize North Wright County's attack. At goaltender Hill-Murray returns one of the best in the state in senior Grace Zhan (Dartmouth commit).  

North Wright County hopes to rebound after last year's section 5AA semi-final 5-3 loss to Spring Lake Park / Centennial. The Eagles are led at forward by seniors Adrienne Hansen and Annica Walters, as well as juniors Dani Weiland and Roz Landkammer.

On defense, North Wright County will lean on senior Eva Nelson and junior Belle Leland to try to limit Hill-Murray's scoring chances. North Wright County will look to largely untested juniors Nicole Schumm and Katie Lemke at goaltender to backstop the Eagles.   

Kendall Hassler, Benilde-St. Margaret's

Benilde-St. Margaret's at Stillwater 
November 11 (7 PM)
St. Croix Valley Rec Center 

Benilde-St. Margaret's hopes to bounce back from a tough 5-1 loss to Edina in the Section 6AA semifinal. The Red Knights are led at forward by senior Lizzy Hamel, junior Ella Pasqua, and talented sophomore Ellie Stewart, and junior Kendall Hassler (Minnesota State commit) which should provide plenty of scoring up front.

On defense, juniors LuLu Rucinski and Bailey Gray are two-way defenders who like to get involved offensively. Senior goaltender Demetra Walsma returns and will likely shoulder at least part of the goaltending duties this year for the Red Knights.  

Stillwater is on a mission to win state, hoping to build on a hard-fought 5-1 loss to Gentry Academy in the section 5AA semifinals. The Ponies are led up front by seniors Josie St. Martin (Ohio State commit), Brooke Nelson, giving Stillwater experience, skill, and scoring.

You can hear Josie St. Martin's father, Eric, talk about the recruiting process, which is a must-listen for any parent new to the process, in an interview he gave YHH over the summer.

On defense, seniors Josie Lang (Providence commit) and Addison Finn (New Hampshire commit) provide skill and dynamic two-way play that make Stillwater stand out, especially on the power play. Senior goaltender Lily Timmons provides experience and poise to the Ponies' crease. 

Josie St. Martin, Stillwater

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