Andover’s Peyton Hemp burst onto the state hockey scene in 2017 as a precocious freshman piling up points in dizzying fashion. She scored 43 points that rookie season, offering a less-than-subtle hint as to what was to come. Hemp, who's now a senior, enters the week with 199 career points and on a quest to lead the Huskies to a second-straight state Class 2A championship.
Hemp surpassing the 200-point plateau is a given. That second state title seems pretty realistic, too, given the Huskies, ranked No. 1 in the Class 2A coaches' poll from Feb. 3, are outscoring their opponents 59-2 this winter. Of course, there’s more to the Huskies (7-0-0) than just Hemp, a Minnesota commit. Six other Andover players, all seniors, have committed to Division I programs, including Minnesota Duluth commit Gabby Krause, who shares the team goal-scoring lead with Hemp with nine tallies.
Saturday’s game in Circle Pines against the Cougars figures to offer Andover one of its toughest tests yet this season, as Centennial (6-1-0) is in the midst of a five-game win streak that includes two shutouts.
It will almost certainly take a superb goaltending performance for the Cougars to upend the Huskies, and freshman Kaitlin Groess has been impressive while posting a 5-1-0 record. She ranks 10th in the state with a .947 save percentage. Sophomore Lauren O’Hara (13 points) and junior Megan Goodreau (12 points) handle the bulk of Centennial’s scoring.