Sherman Column – Tonka girls look for three state hockey titles in a row
Minnetonka High’s girls hockey program is second to none after winning state Class AA titles each of the past two seasons.
But the success has not changed head coach Eric Johnson, who is quick to share credit for the Skippers’ good fortune.
“I am very proud of our youth hockey system and the volunteers that we have,” said Johnson following an 8-0 victory over the Duluth Northern Stars Dec. 1. “We have 175 girls playing youth hockey this year.
“We have five Division I players in the senior class, and they all came up through our youth program,” Johnson noted.
Amy Petersen, who had a hat trick in the win over Duluth, is going to Penn State along with teammate Laura Bowman. The other Division I recruits are Hannah Behounek (RPI), Sidney Morin (University of Minnesota-Duluth) and Sydney Rossman (Quinnipiac).
“The juniors and sophomores were the life force of our team last year,” said Johnson, whose team is off to a 4-0-0 start in 2012-13.
Success up north
The highlight of Tonka’s season, thus far, was a sweep on a road trip to Roseau and Warroad.
After beating Roseau 7-3, the Skippers came back to top Warroad 2-1 the following afternoon.
“Both teams are tough to beat in their home arenas,” said Johnson. “Those games put us into a playoff atmosphere. And the trip was a good bonding experience.”
Wayzata is 6-0-0
Wayzata is another Lake girls hockey team with a perfect record so far.
The Trojans, coached by Becky Wacker, are 6-0-0 after beating North Wright County 3-1 Dec. 1.
Goalies McKenna Lorenz and Paige Marcy have been outstanding in goal for the Trojans.
“Their combined goals-against average is low,” said Wacker. “The most goals we have allowed in a game are two.”
The Trojans have seven seniors and 10 juniors on the roster. The seniors include captains Carly Noble, Kaycie Palesch and Ellen Rethwisch.
Noble had a big night against North Wright County with two goals while senior Ashley Klein also scored a goal.
“The Lake Conference is really tough,” said Wacker. “If you look at the state rankings, Minnetonka is No 1, Edina is No. 3, Eden Prairie is No. 8 and we’re No. 9. I am sure Hopkins is somewhere in the top 20.”
One slips away
Going into the third period Dec. 1, the Hopkins High girls hockey team led Burnsville 2-1.
But the Royals let it slip away as Burnsville scored five times in the last 17 minutes of a 6-4 win.
“We didn’t cover the backside very well,” said Hopkins head coach Vin Paolucci. “I was happy with how we played the first two periods, but we didn’t have our legs in the third period.”
Ali Freie scored her first career goal for Hopkins. Nina Rodgers, Grace Bizal and Corbin Boyd also had goals.