Head coach: Tom Aney (fifth season, 28-72-1)
Assistants: Luke Hughes, Scott Thorvilson, Jess Senjem, James Luke.
Last season: 10-12-1, lost to Lakeville North in Section 1AA quarterfinals
Top returners: Jr. D Katherine Thorvilson (3-7—10), Fr. F Kasey Klouser (0-6—6), Sr. D Megan Andrist (0-5—5), So. F Collette Barry (0-1—1), Fr. D Ella Tomminello (0-0—0), Fr. G Abi Conners (4-4-0, 4.08 GAA, .862 save pct.).
Outlook: The Panthers will be an incredibly young team, with 11 of the 14 girls on their roster being freshmen or younger. Century lost its top six scorers, including 30-goal scorer Kylie Lund, leading scorer Tori Johnson (27-35—62) and defenseman Kennedi Bielenberg-Howarth (1-14—15), who is playing at Shattuck St. Mary's. Century's strength will be its experienced defensive corps, led by Andrist, Thorvilson and Tomminello. Conners is back in goal, after splitting time last season with then-senior Macy Lund. Klouser and Barry are the team's top returning forwards.
Coach Aney says: "At forward, we have nearly a complete turnover of varsity players. The upside is that this presents a great opportunity for our young players to compete at the varsity level and they will see tremendous growth and improvement. The challenges will be staying healthy and accepting that we will have difficultly having scoreboard success against teams that will generally have size, strength, and experience advantages over us. I could not be more pleased in the upbeat attitude and energy this young team has shown in the first week or so of practices. They are excited for the opportunities and challenges this season will present."
Senior — D Megan Andrist. Junior — D Katherine Thorvilson. Sophomore — F Collette Barry. Freshmen — F Kailey Birkestrand, F Aubrie Bourgoyne, F Grace Burgess, G Abigail Conners, F Kasey Klouser, D Nina Luke, F Zoey Manzardo, F Grace Oyen, F Inga Skoglund, D Ella Tomminello. Seventh-grader — G Kendra Delaney.
• • •
JOHN MARSHALL ROCKETS
Head coach: Josh Chapman (third season, 13-38-0)
Assistants: Mia Bruesewitz, Cassidy Greer, Jake Potaracke.
Last season: 6-21-0, lost to Farmington in Section 1AA quarterfinals
Top returners: Jr. F Greta Freed (16-22—38), Sr. F Ashley Koehler (14-11—25), Sr. F Kinsey Torgrimson (4-7—11), Jr. F Alyssa Kang (0-6—6), Sr. G Anysia Heimer (5-21-0, 5.63 GAA, .856 save pct.).
Outlook: The Rockets made strides toward the end of last season, winning four of their final seven games and going to overtime in another. They'll have an experienced lineup this winter, but will be without one of the top scorers to ever come through the program — forward Ally Halverson, now at Gustavus. She led JM in goals (38) and points (55). While one player won't be able to fill Halverson's skates, JM has a talented first line that will lead the team this winter. Seniors Ashley Koehler, Kinsey Torgrimson and junior Greta Freed will be a tough line for opponents to match up against. All three are team captains. Goalie Anysia Heimer returns, as well, for her third season as the starter. The Rockets have a pair of juniors, Josie Nichols and Emmy Mueller, and a pair of freshmen, Alix Gary and Sophie Gilbertson, on defense. Gary, Nichols and Mueller combined for 11 points last year.
Coach Chapman says: "We have some players to replace, but our leadership with our new captains, they’ve been awesome over the summer, holding the younger girls accountable. Everybody’s been working hard, so hopefully we can pull something together and get a few more wins than last year."
Seniors — G Anysia Heimer, F Ashley Koehler, F Kinsey Torgrimson. Juniors — F Greta Freed, F Alyssa Kang, D Emerson Mueller, D Josie Nichols, F Katherine Wheeler. Freshmen — F Ava Fevold, D Alix Gary, D Sophie Gilbertson, F Hannah Letcher, F Yasmin Smith, F Halle Squires. Eighth-grader — G Emily Hendrickson.
• • •
Head coach: Jeff True (third season, 30-23-1)
Assistants: Laura Vannelli, Matt Hanzel, Todd VerNess, Jim Renn.
Last season: 16-11-1, Section 1A champion, sixth at Class A state tournament
Top returners: Sr. G Corrin Hanson 16-11-1, 2.36 GAA, .894 save pct., 3 shutouts; Sr. F Emma Schmitz (30-32—62); Jr. D Maggie Hanzel (10-25—35); Sr. F Sarah Dravis (7-23—30); Jr. F Abby Wick (5-16—21); Sr. D Allison Smith (5-9—14); Sr. F Isabelle Heim (0-10—10).
Outlook: The Eagles are loaded with talent — and they're no longer any kind of secret to the rest of the state. Lourdes is ranked No. 3 in the first Class A state poll of the winter, behind only the two teams who played for a state title last year, Warroad and Breck. The Eagles' starting goalie, senior Corrin Hanson (Northland College commit) is back, as are seven of the team's top nine scorers. Leading that group is dynamic senior forward Emma Schmitz, one of three Division I commits on the team. She'll play college hockey next year at Sacred Heart University. Junior Maggie Hanzel (Boston U.) and senior Allison Smith (Uniion) lead the defensive corps, while senior Sarah Dravis and junior Abby Wick both recorded 21 or more points last year up front.
Coach True says: "Our team brings a fierce and competitive nature to every practice, which elevates the play of our players and tempo of our practices. Our team has experience playing against top teams and top players across the state, so there aren’t games this group feels overwhelmed in. We bring a lot of team speed and like to play an aggressive style, which our players enjoy. We have a nice balance of skill and speed on the front end, paired with experience and strength on the defensive side and in net."
Seniors — F Sarah Dravis, G Corrine Hanson, F Isabelle Heim, D Carlie Hildebrandt, F Emma Schmitz, D Allison Smith, F Kylie VerNess. Juniors — D Autumn Arcand, F Chasidy Buer, F Carmen Erickson, D Paige Gallaugher, D Maggie Hanzel, F Abby Wick. Sophomores — F Sandra Kraling, F Lizzie Pike. Freshmen — F Delaney Fleming. Eighth-grader — G Kiley Buer, D Layla Rippentrop. Seventh-grader — F Sawyer Fleming.
• • •
Head coach: Mike McCormack (sixth season, 58-69-4)
Assistants: Nicole Root, Case Hansen, Mackenzie McCormack, Brad Berge, Keegan Hakala, Maddie Sawyer.
Last season: 6-18-3, lost to Farmington in Section 1AA quarterfinals
Top returners: Jr. F Devynn Priest (25-6—31), Jr. D Luella Bianco (4-6—10), Sr. F Nakya Renn (2-6—8), Jr. D Maggie Augeson (1-1—2).
Outlook: The Spartans lost some talented players from a year ago, yet they return experienced players at key positions. Sophomore goalie Chloe Rupprecht stepped in after Makayla Pahl — a Miss Hockey finalist who now plays at the University of Minnesota — suffered an injury last season. Rupprecht is expected to be the full-time starter this winter. Two veteran defensemen, Maggie Augeson and Luella Bianco, will anchor a young blue line, which lost five-year varsity regular Alexa Hruska to graduation. Augeson and Bianco will help mentor a new crop of defensemen, several of whom are converting from forward. Junior Devynn Priest — who has 57 goals and 102 career points already at Mayo — leads the forward group. She scored 25 of Mayo's 51 goals last season. Senior Nakya Renn, Milla Sadowy and transfer Elizabeth Arendt will play key minutes at forward, too.
Coach McCormack says: "We have seven juniors and seniors and we are expecting a lot of leadership from them. The team has about eight players with limited hockey experience so we will be developing these players as well as expanding on the skills of our veterans. Elizabeth Arendt, Franka Boesch and Natalie Campbell are newcomers that are expected to see significant varsity time right away and they will be tested to see how quickly they can become contributors."
Seniors — F Holly Boesch, F Haley Handelman, F Nakya Renn. Juniors — D Maggie Augeson, F Ava Beetcher, D Luella Bianco, F Devynn Priest. Sophomores — F Elizabeth Arendt, D Abbie Jacobson, G Chloe Rupprecht, F Milla Sadowy. Freshmen — D Ella Dozois, F Rowan Ernster, F Megan Lutz, F Madison Staven-Sweeney, F Camberly Tripp, F Ryder Walter, F Isabel Wright. Eighth-graders — F Franka Boesch. Seventh-graders — F Natalie Campbell.
• • • • •
Head coach: Troy Holtz (first season). Assistant: Kendra Maxfield.
Last season: 10-14-1, lost to Albert Lea in Section 1A quarterfinals
Outlook: Former Packers boys hockey coach Troy Holtz takes over as the girls' head coach this season in Austin, replacing Carley Grunewald. The Packers will be led by a handful of veterans, including All-Big Nine Conference forward Jordyn McCormack. The senior center had 25 goals and 29 points last year. Junior Lexi Stich (4-4—8) and sophomores Kate Holtz (6-10—16) and Sam Krueger are the Packers top returners. McCormack, Holtz and Stich will be united on Austin's top line, providing a tough matchup for all of the Packers' opponents. Sarah Wangen and Izzy Hemann give the Packers an experienced second line. Austin suffered a couple of big losses on the blue line, with Lily Holtz (30 points) and Erin Bickler (9 points) graduating. Forwards Hannah McMasters (23 points) and Jaiden Schuster (16), and goalie Faith Sayles also graduated. Junior Shelby Davidson, who split time with Sayles last year, is back as a starting goalie. She'll be pushed by eighth-grader Kyia Radford-Garcia.
"We have two solid lines at the top with great depth from our sophomore class," coach Holtz said. "Goaltending should also be a strength. We should be able to play three lines and five to six defenseman through the game allowing us to still have energy for all three periods."
• • •
DODGE COUNTY WILDCATS
Head coach: Jeremy Gunderson (13th season, 230-109-10). Assistants: Jeff Bolin, Joe Wieners, Tim Faber, Tim Fagerlind, Jeremy Schubert, Chris Anderson.
Last season: 13-13-2, lost to Lakeville North in Section 1AA semifinals
Outlook: The Wildcats were one of the best defensive teams in the state a year ago, allowing just 2.0 goals and 21.0 shots per game, and posting an 89.7 penalty-kill percentage. Dodge County expects to be just as strong defensively this season, with junior goalie Sky Hughes (1.75 GAA, .915 save pct.) returning, as well as four top defenders — senior Kayla Schubert (6-10—16), junior Liz Fagerlind (4-6—10), and sophomores Emily Anderson (0-4—4) and Katelyn Courteau (0-2—2). Up front, seniors Kennedy Kraus (10-11—21) and Malia Schubert (10-5—15) are back to lead the way, along with sophomore Lyndi Schubert (7-7—14) and juniors McKenna Freerksen (6-4—10) and Anna Braun.
"We will be a very solid, deep team especially late in the season when we get back a couple key players from injury," Gunderson said. "One of our top forwards, Lyndi Schubert, had ACL surgery after tearing it in track (last)
spring and will be back later in the season, helping with more scoring punch up front. Farmington is the clear section favorite, but we feel we are one of several teams that could make a deep playoff run."
• • •
RED WING WINGERS
Head coach: Nicole Olson (second season, 8-17-2). Assistants: Bob Kubes, Brad Johnson, Ken Bluhm.
Last season: 8-17-2, lost to Faribault 5-4 in Section 1A semifinals
Outlook: The Wingers took some steps forward under first-year coach Olson a season ago, improving as the season progressed and going 3-3-1 in their final seven games, which included a narrow 5-4 loss to Faribault in the Section 1A semifinals. Red Wing will again be young this season — 14 of its 29 players are freshmen or eighth-graders — but those young players now have varsity experience to fall back on, giving the Wingers some depth. Coach Olson said the Wingers' strengths will be speed, discipline and a strong work ethic. They'll be led this winter by veterans Meg Grove (6-12—18) and Eliza DiNatale (26-10—36). Grove, a senior defenseman, is the team's captain and Olson calls her the "backbone of the team." DiNatale, a junior forward, led the team in goals (26) and total points (36) last year.
"We are young but play strong systems with hard working girls ready to compete," Olson said. "We're excited to get started and continue our work from last year."