Graduation claimed the Raiders' top five scorers, so competing for another Class 2A title will require a new wave of players to emerge. So far, so good. Sophomore Kate Flug, one of the team's swift and skilled role players last season, leads the team with five goals through two games. And two juniors, defenseman Lee Stecklein and forward Hanna Brodt, each have two goals. "Our team last season was basically seniors and sophomores," coach Vic Brodt said. "So we are young but somewhat experienced."
Let's Play Hockey magazine tabbed Minnetonka as its preseason No. 1 team in Class 2A, with west-metro schools Edina (No. 2) and Benilde-St. Margaret's (No. 7) also in the top 10. Representing the east side of town is No. 3 Roseville, No. 4 Hill-Murray and No. 6 Stillwater. The three east schools have more holes to fill because of graduation and already this season Minnetonka downed Hill-Murray 3-1. "I think, on paper, the west looks stronger than the east," Brodt said. "But we'll see when the puck is dropped in pressure situations."
A trio of defensemen stand out for their skills and stature: Minnetonka's Rachel Ramsey, Breck's Milica McMillen and Roseville's Lee Stecklein. "There have been a lot of good defensemen," Edina coach Laura Slominski said. "But if you're blessed with size, that takes you to a whole new level." Minnetonka coach Eric Johnson said all three are "big and tough and all possess Olympic-team potential." Ramsey, a senior, has committed to the Gophers. McMillen and Stecklein are juniors.
Sports Illustrated recently devoted most of an issue to the impact of concussions on athletes. Hill-Murray coach Bill Schafhauser's reaction? "I was wondering what the hell took so long," he said. One of Schafhauser's players, Marissa Brandt, missed much of last season after sustaining two concussions. Pioneers players received new helmets this season and took the ImPACT test, which creates a baseline for normal brain function and can be used to gauge the severity of a concussion. "Hopefully the awareness will trickle down to the youth level," Schafhauser said.
At least three metro-area players carry the blessing and the responsibility of having an accomplished hockey father. Minnetonka's Rachel Ramsey is the daughter of Miracle on Ice defenseman and former NHLer Mike Ramsey. Rosemount's Allison Micheletti is the daughter of former Gophers standout Don Micheletti. And emerging Edina sophomore Brianna Bellows shares a last name and jersey number (23) with her father, former North Stars forward Brian Bellows. Ramsey and Micheletti earned Division I scholarships, while the younger Bellows is impressing as a center who plays hard at both ends of the ice.
— David La Vaque