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GHS: Games of the Week (Dec. 27-29)

By Derek Felska, 12/26/23, 4:45PM CST


It's holiday tournament time, the part of the year where players and parents pack up the gear and spend a few days in far off arenas from Warroad to Farmington. Here are five girls games you should check out to burn off some of those holiday cookie calories.

December 27: Rosemount vs. Crookston (1:00 PM) 
Gradens Arena - Warroad Holiday Tournament 

CeCe Hanson, Rosemount

This is a game you don't see too often as southeast metro Rosemount treks up to Gardens Arena to take on Crookston in the opening round of the Warroad Holiday Tournament. YHH discussed Crookston's bold schedule on their most recent episode of Her Ice.  

Rosemount is coming off a 3-2 loss to Albert Lea. The Irish are led at forward by senior CeCe Hanson (5 goals, 6 assists, 11 points), juniors Sophie Stramel (7-8-15) and Aubrey Hansen (6-7-13) as well as talented freshman Annalee Holzer (11-8-19) generate most of Rosemount's scoring. The Irish power play is a source of strength, converting at a 27.8% rate.

On defense, junior Zoe Juncker (1-12-13) and freshman Madelyn Huesinkveld (0-7-7) keep it simple in their own end of the ice and do their best to keep opponents from the high-danger areas. Rosemount has split starts between junior Avery Miller (.865 save percentage) and senior Natalie Kendhammer (.936 save percentage) this season.

Crookston is coming off a 3-0 victory over East Grand Forks. At forward, seniors Brekken Tull (3-3-6), Brynley Coleman (4-4-8), and Cassie Solheim (3-4-7) as well as junior Addison Fee (6-2-8) and sophomore Taylor Field (3-4-7) provide Crookston plenty of scoring options. 8th-grade forward Jocelyn Field (1-7-8) looks like another star on the rise for the Pirates.

On defense, senior Reese Swanson (3-4-7), along with sophomores Ashlyn Bailey (1-4-5) and Emma LaPlante (3-0-3), as well as 8th-grader Adley Vigness (1-4-5), keep the Pirates on the attack and like to be involved in the offensive zone. The Pirates' penalty kill is solid, shutting down opposing power plays at a 97.7% rate. Junior goaltender Kambelle Freije (.939 save percentage) is one of the best at her position in Class A.  

December 27: Roseau vs. Benilde-St. Margaret's (5:45 PM) 
Eden Prairie Community Center - Mid-Winter Meltdown 

Lizzy Hamel, Benilde-St. Margaret's

The Rams make their way down to Eden Prairie to participate in the Mid-Winter Meltdown as they take on the Red Knights for their 2nd of two regular season games against one another this season. The Red Knights won the first game 3-2 on December 1st. Can Benilde-St. Margaret's earn a sweep, or will Roseau force a split?

Roseau is coming off a hard-fought 4-3 victory over Bemidji. Junior forwards Payton Remick (St. Cloud State commit, 14-6-20) and Lily Erickson (7-6-13), as well as sophomore Jasmine Hovda (8-13-21) and freshman Ella Ketring (4-10-14) carry most of the offensive workload for the Rams. On defense, juniors Summer Byfuglien (4-8-12) and Kylie Bjerk (0-7-7) log big minutes where they will try to limit the Red Knights' scoring chances. Senior goaltender Jada Pelowski (.892 save percentage) has shouldered most of the workload, but the Rams have also utilized freshman Madi Lisell (.904 save percentage).

Benilde-St. Margaret's is coming off a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Holy Angels. The Red Knights are led at forward by junior Talla Hansen (9-7-16) and Kendall Hassler (5-5-10), seniors Kaeli Koopman (4-3-7), Lizzy Hamel (4-3-7) and Katie Zakrajsheck (1-5-6) as well as gifted sophomore Ellie Stewart (5-9-14) 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 27.8% rate.

On defense, juniors Ella Pasqua (Quinnipiac commit, 4-6-10), Bailey Gray (5-5-10), and LuLu Rucinsky (1-5-6), as well as senior Siena Carver (0-3-3) are a versatile group that defends well but can also join the Red Knights' attack. At goaltender, senior Demetra Walsma (.880 save percentage) and Elie Hancock (.866 save percentage) split starts this season.

December 28: Owatonna vs. Farmington (5:30 PM) 
Schmitz-Maki Arena - Schmitz Holiday Classic 

When you host a tournament, is there more pressure to win? We'll find out in this intriguing matchup as a well-seasoned Owatonna team takes on a youthful Farmington squad as part of the Schmitz Holiday Classic. 

Owatonna is coming off a 7-0 rout of Rochester Mayo. The Huskies' attack is led by senior forwards Molly Achterkirch (3-4-7), Izzy Radel (3-6-9), and Samantha Bogen (4-12-16), as well as junior Anna Mollenhauer (6-5-11) and Averi Vetsch (4-2-6) carry most of the scoring load. On defense, junior Alia Kubicek (2-8-10), as well as sophomores Kendra Bogen (3-5-8) and Paige Thompson (0-3-3), will be tasked with slowing down Farmington's offense. Junior Leah Spencer (.874 save percentage) has shouldered most of the workload this season in goal.

Farmington is coming off a 9-0 loss to Minnetonka. Senior forward Morgan Mitchell(4-8-12) mentors a young but skilled group of Tigers like freshmen Paige Johnson (7-7-14) and Lexi Giller (2-5-7) as well 8th graders Amelia Golbirsch (4-7-11) and Jenna Golbirsch (11-5-16) showing a lot of promise offensively.

On defense, senior Shelby Mahowald (0-1-1) and junior Kennedy Meier (1-7-8) lead a young group consisting of freshman Josie Empey (0-5-5) and 8th-grader Norah Kratz (2-4-6) who are exhibiting steady improvement with each game. At goaltender, the Tigers have split starts between junior Addison Moudry (.910 save percentage) and sophomore Makena Underwood (.922 save percentage) this season.

December 28: White Bear Lake vs. Lakeville South (6:00 PM)
Hasse Arena - Cougar Holiday Classic 

Amanda Smythe, White Bear Lake (shown here competing for Team Royalty during the High School Girls Elite League this fall)

The Bears make their way down to the Southeast metro to take on Cougar Classic tournament host Lakeville South at Hasse Arena in Lakeville. Will the Cougars outlast an improved White Bear Lake squad?

The Bears are coming off a 4-0 win against Park of Cottage Grove. White Bear Lake is led at forward by seniors Ava Johnson (6-3-9), Gabby Hofeld (4-3-7), and Hailey Dawe (5-4-9), as well as juniors Amanda Smythe (4-8-12), Talia Domschot (4-8-12) and Lily Howard (4-2-6) provide the Bears good scoring balance through its top two lines. Sophomore Madelyn Lee (8-7-15) gives the Bears a lot of reasons to be excited about the future. On defense, senior Zoe Timmons (1-6-7), juniors Maddie Belisle (0-6-6) and Grace Bailey (1-3-4), as well as sophomore Olivia Simpkins (0-4-4), have shown steady improvement each game. The Bears have split starts between seniors Sterling Anderson (.891 save percentage) and Gabriella Casa de Calvo (.939 save percentage) this season.  

Lakeville South is coming off a 3-0 victory over Blaine. At forward, Lakeville South is led by seniors Ella Fowler (5-11-16) and Brynn O'Neill (7-8-15), as well as juniors Josie Grossman (10-8-18) and Camden Hopper (5-5-10) carry most of the offense for the Cougars.

On defense, seniors Lilly Hunst (3-6-9) and Nicole McKinney (1-5-6), along with freshman Senna Hoffman (2-2-4), do a great job at limiting scoring chances and putting Lakeville South back on the attack. The Cougars' penalty kill doesn't give up much, as they kill opposing penalties at a 97% rate. At goaltender senior Claire Bronson (6 shutouts) is one of the best goaltenders in Class AA.  

Claire Bronson, Lakeville South

December 30: Brainerd/Little Falls at Forest Lake (2:00 PM) 

Brainerd/Little Falls travel to the northeast metro for this non-tournament game against Forest Lake. Both teams are similar in style, and which team can find enough offense to earn a victory?

Brainerd/Little Falls is coming off a 2-1 loss to Sartell/Sauk Rapids. Senior forwards Molly Pohlkamp (8-0-8) and Payton LeMieur (2-7-9), junior Brianna Finnegan (1-1-2), and sophomores Levi LeMieur (2-3-5) and Lily DeRosier (1-2-3) provide most of the scoring for Brainerd/Little Falls. On defense, juniors Sequoia Kicker (1-0-1), Aubree Caauwe (1-1-2), and Kristina Bailif (1-1-2) protect the middle of the ice, giving opponents few lanes of attack. Junior goaltender Ericah Folden (.951 save percentage) brings tremendous confidence and stability to the Brainerd/Little Falls' crease.

Forest Lake is coming off a 2-2 tie against Blaine. The Rangers are led at forward by juniors Rylen Kissell (8-5-13) and Madelyn Kemplin (3-8-11), as well as sophomore Abigail Sklaventis (8-5-13), who pace Forest Lake's attack. Forest Lake is dangerous on the power play, finding the back of the net at a 29.7% rate.

On defense, senior captain Sami Pool (6-3-9), junior Maren Wallinga (1-0-1), and 8th-grader Lilly Halweg (1-2-3) try to keep opposing skaters to the perimeter and chip in offensively. Sophomore goaltender Taylor Thompson (.924 save percentage) has made every start this season for the Rangers.  

Sami Pool, Forest Lake

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