Girls’ hockey wraps up season

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photo courtesy of Jane Taffe

Captain Tiana Press blocks a shot against a forward for Minnetonka.

Karen Valde, staff writer

With nine new freshman on the team and a 22-2-1 record, the girls varsity hockey team head into sections after beating Irondale 5-1 to become conference champions.

This year the girls had a new challenge to overcome: incorporating the new freshmen into the team. Team building in Duluth and being smart hockey players helped the freshman adjust to the new team. “We play to move the puck all the time, so these girls had to learn our way of play. They are smart players so they caught on very easily,” said Mr. Dave Herbst, head coach.

With so many freshmen entering the team with hardly any high-school hockey experience, two upperclassmen had to step up to lead the team. Senior captains Tiana Press and Jordyn Burns took over the leadership role by teaching them the rules of being on varsity and supporting them throughout the entire season. “I can’t say enough about the great senior leadership that they had throughout the whole season,” said Mr. Herbst.

During every season, all the teams set high goals for themselves, and this year is no exception. “At the beginning of the season we had five goals in mind: win the Cake Eater’s tournament, win the Schwan’s tournament, become conference champs, win sections, and win state. So far we are three for three,” said Mr. Herbst.

The girls’ only concern right now is too win all of the games that they play. “In order to get to state, we need to win all of our games in sections,” said junior Aly Hoffman.

The girls headed into sections with their first game on Saturday, Feb. 12 vs. North Metro at Parade Ice Garden. The girls were able to pull away with a 2-0 victory, but they outshot them 52-10. In hope of continuing into their section tournament they need to not worry about games that they haven’t gotten to yet. “We can’t get too ahead of ourselves. We just have to take one game at a time,” said Mr. Herbst.

The girls all want another crack at Minnetonka. The Skippers were able to score a goal in overtime to win the game in their first match-up this year. “The goal really shouldn’t have counted, but it gave us the fire we need to maybe beat them later on,” said junior Aly Hoffman.

Evidently, this motivation helped the team because they have won 14 games straight. “We hope the streak continues so we are able to go to state,” said Mr. Herbst.

If the girls are able to get to state, they can make history as the youngest team in the state to make the state tournament. Also the team could possibly end the season with one of the best records for Coach Herbst. “Before this year my best record was 26-4-1, and so far this year the girls have a record of 22-2-1. If they win the rest of their games then they will end with a record of 28-2-1,” said Mr. Herbst.

The girls’ hockey team has improved so much over the season not only in skill, but also team bonding. “We grew as a team as the season went on and that made us a better team,” said Hoffman.