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GHS: Games of the Week (Dec. 14-16)

By Derek Felska, 12/12/23, 3:00PM CST


From Elk River to Kasson, girls' teams are nearing the midpoint of their season. Here are five games to check out if you're in the area.

Andover at Benilde-St. Margaret's
December 14 (7PM)

This should be an exciting west metro rematch between Andover and Benilde-St. Margaret's as the two clubs clash at the University  of Minnesota's Ridder Arena. Andover topped the Red Knights 4-1 on November 14th, the first time the two teams met. Can the Huskies get the regular season sweep, or will the Red Knights force a split?   

Andover is coming off an 8-0 rout of Proctor/Hermantown. At forward, the Huskies are led by senior Nora Sauer (St. Thomas commit, 5 goals, 3 assists, 8 points) as well as juniors Maya Engler (St. Thomas commit, 2-3-5), Ella Thoreson (3-5-8) and Hannah Christenson (Northeastern commit, 4-3-7) provide Andover plenty of scoring punch.

On defense, senior Cailin Mumm (St. Thomas commit, 1-5-6), as well as juniors Courtney Little (St. Thomas commit, 1-4-5) and Mackenzie Jones (Wisconsin commit, 4-5-9), allow the Huskies to match up with just about anyone. Sophomore Clairebella Hills (.841 save percentage) has carried most of the starts this season, but the Huskies have also utilized freshman Olivia Nedved (.964 save percentage).

Benilde-St. Margaret's are buzzing with some positive momentum after a 5-2 victory over Edina last week. The Red Knights are led at forward by junior Kendall Hassler (4-5-9), Talla Hansen (6-6-12), seniors Kaeli Koopman (3-3-6), Lizzy Hamel(4-3-7) and Katie Zakrajscheck (1-5-6) as well as sophomore Ellie Stewart (4-5-9) 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 33.3% rate.

On defense, juniors Ella Pasqua (Quinnipiac commit, 4-5-9), Bailey Gray (5-4-9), Addie Morris (2-1-3), and LuLu Rucinski (1-4-5) are a well-rounded group that defends well but can also join the Red Knights' attack. At goaltender, senior Demetra Walsma (.873 save percentage) and Elie Hancock (.860 save percentage) split starts this season.

Bailey Gray, Benilde-St. Margaret's

Owatonna at Dodge County 
December 15 (7 PM)

This is an intriguing southeastern Minnesota tilt as the Huskies go to Dodge County Ice Arena to take on the Wildcats.  

Owatonna is coming off a 3-0 loss to Lakeville South. The Huskies' attack is led by senior forwards Molly Achterkirch (3-4-7), Izzy Radel (3-3-6), and Samantha Bogen (2-9-11) as well as juniors Averi Vetsch (3-1-4) and Anna Mollenhauer (4-3-7) give Owatonna balanced scoring up front.

On defense, junior Alia Kubicek (2-7-9), as well as sophomores Kendra Bogen (3-5-8) and Paige Thompson (0-2-2), will be tasked with slowing down Dodge County's potent offense. Junior Leah Spencer (.880 save percentage) has shouldered most of the workload this season at goaltender.

Dodge County is coming off a 2-1 victory over New Ulm. At forward, Dodge County is led by senior MaKenna LaFleur (6-8-14), juniors Nora Carstensen (8-11-19), Hannah Peterson (5-4-9), and Mollie Koch (5-9-14), sophomore Zoe Heimer (6-9-15) as well as freshman Maisy Koch (9-8-17) form the core of three effective scoring lines for the Wildcats.

On defense, seniors Abby Simons (4-14-18), Alyse Williamschen (1-3-4), and Alexa Van Straaten (4-3-7) keep it simple in their end but also take their chances to get involved in the offensive zone as well. The Wildcats' penalty kill has not surrendered a power play goal this season. Junior goaltender Ida Huber (.907 save percentage) has made all of the starts for the Wildcats this season.  

Nora Carstensen, Dodge County

Proctor/Hermantown at South St. Paul 
December 16 (1 PM) 

This should be a treat of a Class A game as the Mirage makes the trip down to South St. Paul's Doug Woog Arena to take on the Packers.  

Proctor/Hermantown is still stinging after an 8-0 loss to Andover. The Mirage is led at forward by seniors Izy Fairchild (Bemidji State commit, 4-4-8) and Hailey Jussila (3-2-5), as well as junior Jane Eckstrom (4-4-8), giving Proctor/Hermantown plenty of scoring punch.

Senior Morgan LaValley (1-4-5) sets the tone on the Mirage's end of the ice on defense. Still, sophomore Cambriia Thomas (1-3-4), 8th grader Taylee Manion (1-3-4), and freshman Avery Milbridge (0-2-2) give a glimpse of future promise for Proctor/Hermantown's defense corps. Proctor/Hermantown's penalty kill has been stifling this season, killing off opposing power plays at a 96.3% rate. The Mirage has two solid options at goaltender between junior Neelah McLeod (.888 save percentage) and sophomore Suri Langley (.888 save percentage).  

South St. Paul is coming off a 6-4 victory over North/Tartan. At forward, the Packers look to seniors Annie Felton (2-0-2) and Eva Beck (3-2-5) to lead a youthful forward core of junior Bailey Vesper (4-5-9) as well as sophomores Sydney Thompson (2-2-4) and Addi Barone (2-2-4) to shoulder most of the offensive workload.

On defense, junior Lily Pachl (Harvard commit, 5-7-12) rarely leaves the ice and sets the pace for the Packers as she mentors freshman Julia Burgos Frias and 8th grader Keira Furman (0-2-2), who are learning to step into a varsity role. Senior goaltender Molly Jeffrey (.874 save percentage) has started in every game this season for South St. Paul.   

Morgan LaValley, Proctor/Hermantown

Elk River at Champlin Park/Coon Rapids
December 16 (3 PM) 

This is the first of two meetings between these Northwest Suburban teams as the Elks make their way to the Coon Rapids Ice Center for what should be a spirited game.

Elk River is coming off a 3-1 loss to Moorhead. The Elks are led at forward by senior Dani Henrichsen (2-2-4), junior Abby Hansberger (2-5-7) and Tony Alm (1-3-4), sophomore Kennedy Stanislowski (1-1-2) and talented freshman Jayden Peterson(6-2-8) give Elk River balanced scoring through its top two lines.

On defense, senior Carly Humphrey (Minnesota commit, 3-6-9) helps the Elks dictate the pace of play, as well as juniors Kassie Balabon (1-1-2), Kate Oliviera (0-2-2) and Hannah Drake (1-0-1) have stepped into more prominent roles. WCCO recently had a small feature on Carly Humphrey. Elk River has split starts at goaltender between senior Addi Brandt(2 shutouts) and junior Abby Huselid (.947 save percentage) this season.  

Champlin Park/Coon Rapids is coming off a 3-1 victory over Roseville/Mahtomedi. At forward, senior Kyla Keding (3-2-5), juniors Lily McKenzie (8-13-21) and Taylor Zahalka (2-5-7), as well as sophomores Sydney Burnevik (9-7-16) and Tessa Boden(3-6-9) as well as freshman June Semling (5-6-11) provide decent scoring depth throughout its top two lines.

On defense, senior Brylei Del Castillo (2-2-4), junior Nola Milton (0-4-4), sophomore Kylie Aswegan (0-6-6), and freshman Callie Alphin(2-3-5) are a well-rounded group that can shut opponents down as well as chip in offensively. 

Madelyn Wostrel (2.29 goals against average) has made most of the starts at goaltender for Champlin Park/Coon Rapids this season, but fellow junior Grace Lund (.900 save percentage) has had some opportunities as well.  

Sydney Burnevik, Champlin Park/Coon Rapids

Hill-Murray at Holy Family
December 16 (3 PM) 

There will be a lot of green and white on the ice as these two metro area private schools clash at Victoria Ice Arena.  

Hill-Murray is coming off a 5-3 win over Minnetonka. The Pioneers possess a deep and speedy group of forwards led by seniors Chloe Boreen (St. Thomas commit, 8-5-13) and Maddy Morrell (1-5-6), junior Regan Berglund (6-3-9), sophomore Sofie Olson (2-7-9) along with promising freshmen Emily Pohl (11-4-15) and Jaycee Chatelain (5-7-12) have really started to blossom.

On defense, junior Josie Skoogman (Cornell commit, 3-3-6) leads a young group of defenders like sophomore Elli Petronack (0-4-4) and 8th grader Olivia Braunshausen (0-4-4). The Pioneers circle the wagons with the best of them on the penalty kill, as they have not surrendered a single power-play goal this season so far. Senior goaltender Grace Zhan (Dartmouth commit, .962 save percentage) gives Hill-Murray may be the best in the state.  

Holy Family is coming off a 6-2 victory over Gentry Academy. The Fire's forward group is led by senior Jenna Allen (6-5-11), junior Josie Linn (2-7-9), as well as sophomores Ella Nonweiler (5-6-11), Addy Cowan (3-6-9) and Katya Sander (5-2-7) and freshman Ella Sharkey (5-3-8) who give Holy Family quality scoring balance up front. On defense, juniors Casey Cronin (1-3-4) and Maielle Schugel (1-2-3)as well as sophomore Lilli DeFauw (2-5-7), will have their work cut out for them trying to slow down Hill-Murray's attack.

Sophomore Kayla Swartout (.928 save percentage) has shouldered most of the goaltending duties this season for the Fire. Still, Holy Family has also used senior Quinn McDonald (St. Benedict commit, .913 save percentage) this season.

Jaycee Chatleain, Hill-Murray

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