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Eden Prairie senior captains Kate Rydland (12) and Carly Molenaar (17) lead the Eagles as they gear up for a battle with New Prague on Jan. 7. The Trojans are looking to show they can compete with the Class 2A powers. Photo by Cheryl Myers

New Prague's program has been one of the best in Class 1A for the past several seasons. Despite the rise, the Trojans still haven't been to the state tournament as they've failed to find success in Section 1 where Red Wing is the five-time defending champion.

This may be the season in which they break through after a move to Section 2 and the addition of several new challenges to their regular-season slate.

New Prague faced six Class 2A teams in its first nine games and beefed up its schedule with the Prior Lake Tournament and a matchup with Eden Prairie.

Eagles coach Jaime Grossman has plenty of familiarity with the Trojans after coaching 14 years at the Academy of Holy Angels. The teams were rivals in the now-defunct Missota Conference.

New Prague (9-6-1, 2-1) will see how it compares to a top 5-ranked team in the Class 2A coaches' poll with a clash against Eden Prairie (10-5-2, 1-1) in our pick for the Top Game of the Week.

The Trojans remain a program on the rise with sophomore standout and Minnesota commit Catie Skaja (19-21-40), who will play for the U.S. Women’s national team in the International Ice Hockey Federation Under-18 World Championships in Ontario, Canada, on Jan. 8-15.

The U.S. team includes 16 players from Minnesota, including 12 who play for teams in the current rankings.

Top Games of the Week

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