River Lakes at Fergus Falls
November 16 (7:15 PM)
River Lakes is coming off an 11-3 rout of Morris/Benson. The Stars are hoping to build off a young core of forwards led by juniors Sophia Hess and Ayla McLellan, as well as Sophomore forward Abby Storms, who is primed to have a breakout season.
On defense, senior Aubree McDonagh is River Lakes' two-way workhorse and, along with sophomore Makayla Schrieber-Horn, will be tasked with trying to slow down the Otters' attack. At goaltender, junior Kaydance Roeske brings plenty of experience and stability to the Stars' crease.
Fergus Falls is coming off a 3-0 loss to Wayzata. The Otters lost some talented players due to graduation (Maddie Hulter and Tyra Skjeret), but they are hopeful their youth-centered team can make another run to the state tournament.
Led at forward by sophomore Hannah Johnson, as well as freshmen Maddie Brimhall, Lydia Johnson, and Averie Tonneson, give Fergus Falls a dynamic attack. On defense, senior Ella Starzl leads a young defense core, with sophomore Brook Zierden and freshman Maggie Greenagel expected to play a more prominent role this season.
At goaltender, seniors Lexi Metcalf and Ana Jyrkas split starts last season and will likely do so again, giving the Otters two well-seasoned options between the pipes.
Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian at Orono
November 17 (7:00 PM)
There are some games you circle on the calendar as soon as you get the schedule. There is little doubt this game will likely feature a sellout crowd; the off-ice drama will add more energy to what surely will be a very spirited game.
The White Hawks are coming off a 4-0 loss to Northfield. At forward, seniors Camryn Hargreaves, Greer Hardacre, junior Gisella Harder, and sophomore Lizzy Callahan provide most of the scoring punch.
On defense, senior Natalie Miner and sophomore Ali Butler will be tasked with slowing down the Spartans' high-powered attack, which will be a challenging task. Senior goaltender Ashlyn Roth was the White Hawks' go-to option last year, and no doubt she will face her most significant test of this young season.
Orono is coming off a 4-2 loss to Simley. The Spartans, last year's runner-up in Class A, return with a dynamic squad led by junior forwards Zoe Lopez (Minnesota State commit), Macy Rasmussen (Ohio State commit), and Kali Schmidt, as well as sophomore Maddy Kimbrel, provide Orono with plenty of speed, skill and scoring up front. Senior forward Alexa Niccum (UW-River Falls commit) should add well-seasoned leadership.
On defense, seniors Grace Bickett, Allie Pleimann, and junior Alex Paulsen bring plenty of poise and experience as they help Orono control the pace of the game. Junior goaltender Maddison Forsyth will likely be the Spartans starter against Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian.
Macy Rasmussen, Orono
Apple Valley at Shakopee
November 17 (7:00 PM)
This is Apple Valley's first game of the season. The Eagles are led at forward by talented juniors Makayla Moran (Minnesota State commit) and Avery Ryan, along with senior Molly Hentges, who also moonlights on defense, shouldering most of the scoring workload for Apple Valley.
On defense, Hentges and junior Lydia Vonderhaar will be tasked with slowing the Sabres' down. At goaltender, sophomore Eleanor Carlson and freshmen Haylee Szabla and Finley Engfer will battle out for the starting spot vacated by the graduation of Taylor Cozy.
The Sabres are led at forward by junior Hannah Grabianowski and senior Allison Parker, who will have to do a lot of the heavy lifting offensively. Shakopee will lean on juniors Callie Peterson and Nadia Rylance at defense to limit Apple Valley's scoring chances.
Makayla Moran, Apple Valley
Minnetonka at Andover
November 18 (2:00 PM)
Only a few astronomy classes have this many stars to watch as these two talented squads clash as Minnetonka travels to Andover to meet up for an epic early-season showdown.
Minnetonka is coming off an 8-1 rout of Elk River/Zimmerman. The Skippers lost a lot of talent due to graduation last year, but Minnetonka still is one of the most talented teams in Class AA.
At forward, seniors Kendra Distad (Minnesota commit) and Lindzi Avar (Cornell commit), as well as juniors Lauren Mack (Providence commit) and Ruby Rauk (Quinnipiac commit) provide Minnetonka great depth in terms of skill and scoring. On defense, seniors Lauren Goldsworthy (Minnesota State commit) as well as junior Bella Finnegan (Harvard commit), can dominate in their zone and help keep the Skippers on the attack.
At goaltender, juniors Layla Hemp and Ashlynn Hazlett (Bemidji State commit) will give Minnetonka one of the better goaltending duos in the state.
The Huskies also lost some impressive talent due to graduation, but they still bring an impressively talented squad back for the 2023-2024 season. At forward, the Huskies are led by senior Nora Sauer (St. Thomas commit) as well as juniors Maya Engler (St. Thomas commit) and Hannah Christenson (Northeastern commit).
On defense, senior Cailin Mumm (St. Thomas commit), as well as juniors Courtney Little (St. Thomas commit) and Mackenzie Jones (Wisconsin commit), allow the Huskies to match up with just about anyone.
The most significant question mark for the Huskies is at goaltender, where the graduation of Courtney Stagman (St. Anselm) means they will be experimenting between transfers Claire Hills and Olivia Nedved in the Andover crease.
Andover's Nora Sauer (left) and Minnetonka's Lindzi Afar (right) battle for position during a game last season.
Rogers at Grand Rapids/Greenway
November 18 (5:00 PM)
Rogers is coming off a 2-1 loss to Champlin Park/Coon Rapids. The Royals' forward group is led by senior Avery Achterkirch (Bemidji State commit), who leads a young core of players like 8th grader Taylor Hall and freshman Alyssa Nuernberg. At defense, senior Kamryn Messer and junior Sydney Bailey will be leaned upon heavily to keep the Lightning's offense in check. Junior Claire Kinneberg will likely carry most of the workload this season in goal.
The Lightning attack is led up front by high-scoring junior Mercury Bischoff (Minnesota State commit), senior Molly Pierce, and sophomores Kylie DeBay and Mira Rajala. On defense, seniors Allie LeClaire and Cali Madsen bring leadership and experience, which stabilizes the Lightning's back end. At goaltender, senior Riley Toivonen will likely carry most of the goaltending duties for Grand Rapids/Greenway this season.
Mercury Bischoff, Grand Rapids/Greenway