Hill-Murray vs. Maple Grove

3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 11

Maple Grove junior Tristana Tatur is the very definition of a streaky scorer. Twelve of her 15 goals this season have come in five games — all Crimson victories.

Hill-Murray senior Nina Steigauf is the picture of consistency, scoring 17 goals in 12 games to lead the Pioneers, who have suffered three of their five losses when Steigauf was held off the scoresheet.

Saturday’s outcome in our Top Game of the Week will hinge more on just the individual performances of the two standout forwards, who are both committed to Quinnipiac, coincidentally, but how Tatur and Steigauf fare will no doubt consume a large chunk of the story line.

Building momentum for the postseason is an important narrative, too. With the regular season in its final full month, both Maple Grove, ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll from Jan. 2, and Hill-Murray are in the midst of a run of inconsistent performances.

Maple Grove (11-4-1, 6-1-0) has lost four of its last six games, all to top caliber teams (3-0 to No. 1-2A Andover on Dec. 17; 4-0 to No. 3-2A Minnetonka on Dec. 20; 2-1 to No. 2-2A Edina on Dec. 27; 2-1 to North Wright County on Dec. 28).

Hill-Murray (11-5-1, 5-0-0) has lost two of its last four contests (5-1 to No. 9-1A Proctor/Hermantown on Dec. 30 and 2-0 to No. 8-2A Holy Family Catholic on Jan. 2), dropping the Pioneers from the state’s big-school top-10 rankings for the first time this season.

One last note on the importance of the Tatur versus Steigauf matchup: Maple Grove won last year’s meeting 5-2 behind a hat trick from Tatur. Other than a tripping infraction, Steigauf was held off the scoresheet.