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GHS: Games of the Week (Nov. 30-Dec. 2)

By Derek Felska , 11/30/23, 10:45AM CST


From the frosty shores of Duluth to the windswept farmland of Owatonna, the first month of the 2023-2024 girls' high school hockey season rolls on and here are five games you should take in if you happen to be in the area.

Hill-Murray at Edina 
November 30 (7 PM) 

This is a classic metro area showdown of two possible contenders for the Class AA crown.  

Hill-Murray is coming off against Rogers. The Pioneers possess a speedy group of forwards led by seniors Chloe Boreen (St. Thomas commit, 3 goals, 3 assists, 6 points) and Maddy Morrell (1-2-3), junior Regan Berglund (4-2-6). Along with promising freshmen Emily Pohl (7-1-8) and Jaycee Chatelain (2-2-4), the Pioneers have skill and scoring potential to burn.

On defense, junior Josie Skoogman (Cornell commit, 1-2-3) leads a young group of defenders like sophomore Elli Petronack (0-3-3), freshman Addy McLay (1-4-5) and 8th-grader Olivia Braunshausen (0-2-2). Senior goaltender Grace Zhan (Dartmouth commit, .968 save percentage) gives Hill-Murray one of the best in the state at her position.  

Edina is coming off a win against Holy Family. The Hornets have plenty of firepower up front led by likely Ms. Hockey candidate as discussed on Episode #1 of YHH's Her Ice senior Hannah Halverson (Wisconsin commit, 3-3-6), juniors Whitney Horton (St. Thomas commit, 3-1-4) and Cate McCoy (4-2-6).

On defense, senior Taylor Porthan (0-1-1), junior Camille Debuc (1-2-3), and sophomore Taylor Gardner (0-2-2) are skilled and help Edina transition quickly and efficiently. Junior goaltenders Nora Hannan (2 shutouts) and Reese McConnell (.899 save percentage) have been trading starts this season.

Taylor Porthan, Edina

Albert Lea at Owatonna 
November 30 (7 PM) 

This is the first meeting of two for these Big Nine conference rivals and should be a good indicator game for both clubs.  

Albert Lea is coming off a 5-2 victory over Waconia. The Tigers are led at forward by talented sophomore Hanna Austinson (6-4-10), freshman Morgan Goskeson (9-4-13), and juniors Shelby Evans (4-5-9) and Aryah Hansen (1-4-5. Eighth-grade forward Haley Austinson (3-2-5) looks like another young player with plenty of potential.

Defensively, juniors Mika Cichosz (Minnesota State commit, 5-7-12) and Olivia Ellsworth (2-2-4) log many minutes and try to keep play mostly in the offensive zone. The Tigers utilize a rotation at goaltender and have split stars between senior Rachel Doppelhammer (.905 save percentage) and junior Jayda Moyer (.924 save percentage).  

Owatonna is coming off a 5-4 victory over East Ridge. The Huskies' attack is led by senior forwards Molly Achterkirch (1-2-3), Izzy Radel (2-2-4), and Samantha Bogen (1-4-5) as well as junior Averi Vetsch (2-0-2) carry most of the scoring load.

On defense, junior Alia Kubicek (1-3-4), as well as sophomores Kendra Bogen (2-2-4) and Paige Thompson (0-1-1), will be tasked with slowing down Albert Lea's offense. Junior Leah Spencer (.873 save percentage) has shouldered most of this season's workload as a goaltender.   

Albert Lea goaltender Jayda Moyer shuts down a Warroad scoring chance during last year's Class A State Tournament.

Benilde-St. Margaret's at Roseau 
December 1 (7 PM) 

A west metro area powerhouse makes the 6-hour trek north to Roseau for a battle against the Rams.  

Benilde-St. Margaret's is coming off against Wayzata. The Red Knights are led at forward by junior Kendall Hassler (3-1-4), Talla Hansen (4-3-7), senior Kaeli Koopman (3-1-4), and Katie Zakrajscheck (1-4-5) provide the kind of scoring depth few teams can match. Benilde-St. Margaret's power play is off to a fast start, converting at a 28.2% rate.

On defense, juniors Ella Pasqua (Quinnipiac commit, 2-4-6), Bailey Gray (4-0-4), and LuLu Rucinski (0-3-3), as well as senior Siena Carver (0-1-1) are a versatile group that defends well but can also join the Red Knights' attack. At goaltender, senior Demetra Walsma (.852 save percentage) and Elie Hancock (.849 save percentage) split starts this season.  

Roseau is coming off against Bemidji. Junior forwards Payton Remick (St. Cloud State commit, 5-2-7) and Lily Erickson (2-2-4), as well as sophomore Jasmine Hovda (4-3-7), carry most of the offensive workload for the Rams.

On defense, juniors Summer Byfuglien (1-3-4) and Kylie Bjerk (0-2-2) log big minutes where they will try to limit the Red Knights' scoring chances. Senior goaltender Jada Pelowski (.896 save percentage) has shouldered most of the workload, but the Rams have also utilized freshman Madi Lisell (1 shutout).  

Talla Hansen, Benilde-St. Margaret's

Brainerd/Little Falls at Duluth Marshall 
December 2 (3 PM) 

This is an intriguing battle between a stingy defensive team (Brainerd/Little Falls) and another team that likes to overwhelm opponents with their scoring (Duluth Marshall). Which strategy will prevail?

Brainerd/Little Falls is coming off a 1-0 victory over Bemidji. Senior forwards Molly Pohlkamp (3-0-3), Payton LeMieur (1-2-3), and Hannah Neuwirth (1-0-1) provide most of the offense for Brainerd/Little Falls.

On defense, junior Sequoia Kicker and sophomore Emma Neuwirth protect the middle of the ice, giving opponents few lanes of attack. Brainerd/Little Falls have not given up a power play goal this season. Junior goaltender Ericah Folden (.978 save percentage) is off to a strong start this season for Brainerd/Little Falls.

Duluth Marshall is coming off a 2-1 victory over Roseville/Mahtomedi.  Seniors Ilsa Lindeman (St. Thomas commit, 8-7-15) and Annie Bachand (3-5-8), as well as junior Nina Thorson (5-3-8), give the Hilltoppers a formidable offensive punch up front.

On defense, junior Avery Lian (4-2-6) and sophomore Sarah Stauber (0-8-8), as well as promising freshman Giulia McGiffert (1-4-5), are two-way defenders who can chip in at both ends of the ice. Junior goaltender Aurelia (Ray) Anderson (.934 save percentage) is the Hilltoppers' workhorse between the pipes.   

Nina Thorson, Duluth Marshall

Orono at Holy Angels 
December 2 (7 PM)

Could this game be a preview of a possible match-up in the Class A State Tournament in this battle of Metro West Conference contenders?  

Orono is coming off a 4-1 win against Cloquet/Esko/Carlton. The Spartans are led by junior forwards Macy Rasmussen (Ohio State commit, 1-7-8) and Zoe Lopez (Minnesota State commit, 10-5-15), as well as her 8th-grade sister, Gabi Lopez (3-3-6), along with sophomore Maddy Kimbrel (4-4-8) provide Orono with plenty of speed, skill and scoring up front.

On defense, senior Grace Bickett (2-4-6) can lock things down at Orono's end of the ice, where the Spartans deny shooting lanes. At goaltender, freshman Vivienne Anderson (.962 save percentage) has emerged as the Spartans' starter.  

Holy Angels is coming off a 3-0 shutout of the Blake Bears. At forward, juniors Masyn Mullin (2-2-4) and Marci Jung (0-3-3), as well as seniors Bella LaMere (St. Olaf commit, 6-1-7) and Emilie Anderson (2-2-4) give the Stars enviable scoring depth. Holy Angels power play is one of the best in the state, operating at a 42.5% rate.

On defense, juniors Harper Poehling (0-3-3), Berit Loichle (0-2-2), and Taylor Lesnar (0-2-2) are mobile and poised defenders that will have the challenge of slowing down the Spartans speedy forwards. Senior Eva Bentley (Williams College commit, .973 save percentage) and junior Zoe Rimstad (.927 save percentage) give Holy Angels two solid goaltending options.    

Riley Iverson, Holy Angels

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