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Top games: Centennial/Spring Lake Park takes on Rogers to end a busy week

By Heather Rule, SportsEngine, 12/12/22, 10:45AM CST


Dec. 17: Cougars have won seven in a row since season-opening loss.

We task our reporters with identifying several intriguing games throughout the state to assemble our Top Games of the Week. The matchups are presented in no particular order, and when there are additional games we want to highlight, we’ll include them with brief notes.

Rogers vs. Centennial/Spring Lake Park 

3 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 17 

Centennial/Spring Lake Park, ranked No. 8 in Class 2A in the coaches’ poll released Dec. 7, sits atop of the Northwest Suburban Conference with a 4-1 record against conference foes, while No. 12-2A Rogers is 2-1 in the conference.

The teams last met in the Class 2A, Section 5 semifinal. The Cougars scored a pair of third-period goals, including the game winner from now-freshman Katie Ball late in regulation, to get the victory. They split games last year, as host Rogers shut out the Cougars 2-0 last December.

Centennial/Spring Lake Park has rattled off seven victories after a season-opening loss to Maple Grove. The matchup against Rogers will be their third game of the week, with the potential of taking a nine-game winning streak into the contest.

The Cougars aren’t allowing much to opponents. They haven’t surrendered more than two goals in a game, allowing just 1.38 goals per game with junior goaltender Kaitlin Groess leading the way in net with her 1.01 goals-against average and .959 save percentage. They’ve also gotten solid numbers from senior Anna Peterson (3-0-0) with 1.67 goals-against average and .926 save percentage. Ball is the team’s highest-scoring defenseman with two goals and five points.

Rogers enters the week 4-3, with losses to top-10 teams Edina, Andover and Hill-Murray.

The Royals go with a senior tandem in net: Lauren Larson (2-2-0) with a 2.21 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, plus a shutout, and Alexa Backmann (2-1-0) who has a 3.67 goals-against average and .866 save percentage for the season. Each goaltender earned 10 wins last season and allowed an average of fewer than 1.5 goals a game. Sophomore Sydney Bailey is back leading the defensive core; she has a goal and three assists this season.

Dodge County vs. South St. Paul 

7 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 13 

This one sets up a contest between one of the most storied programs in girls’ hockey history and a co-op program having a great year after moving to Class 1A. On paper, this has the potential to be a good matchup with South St. Paul ranked No. 5 in Class 1A and Dodge County at No. 6.

The Dodge County co-op shifted from Class 2A to Class 1A this season, and the Wildcats couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. They’re a perfect 8-0 with three shutouts, including back-to-back bagels at Waconia and against New Prague. The Wildcats are scoring 4.25 goals per game while allowing only 1.12. They’ve allowed two-or-more goals only twice this season.

Sophomore Ida Huber backstops that Dodge County effort for all eight victories – leading the state – and allowing only nine total goals this season on 143 shots. Offensively, eighth-grader Maysie Koch is among the state’s best with 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists). Sophomore Nora Carstensen leads the team with eight goals (three on the power play) and seven assists, followed by sophomore Mollie Koch (five goals, nine assists) and junior defenseman Abby Simons (four goals, nine assists).

The Packers also started off the year well, securing three consecutive shutouts before a 6-3 loss to Proctor/Hermantown.

Senior Delaney Norman (5-2) has played all but one of those games, good enough for a 1.41 goals-against average and .931 save percentage. Norman has been in net for the Packers since her eighth-grade season. The Packers have outscored opponents 19-3 in their six victories this year.  Though Lilie Ramirez graduated as an anchor on the South St. Paul blue line, sophomore Lily Pachl has stepped in as the second-leading scorer on the team (four goals, seven assists).

Lakeville South vs. Lakeville North

7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15 

Though neither team is listed in the rankings, it should still be a game to watch with intercity, conference and section rivalries in play.

Both teams have solid starts to their season and sit tied atop the South Suburban Conference standings at 6-0 in conference play. Lakeville North has scored 3.22 goals per game while allowing 1.22. Lakeville South is averaging 3.17 goals per game and allowing just 1.00 goals per game. The Cougars went 3-0 in this rivalry series last season, including a win in the Class 2A, Section 1 semifinal. 

The Panthers bounced back from an 0-2 start this season with a seven-game winning streak that includes five shutouts. Young goaltenders freshman Addison Oettinger (4-1) and eighth-grader Kaia Weiland (3-1) are splitting time in between the pipes. Oettinger has three shutouts with a .944 save percentage. Weiland, with two shutouts, is allowing four goals on 57 shots for a 1.00 goals-against average.

Lakeville South is led by sophomore forward Josie Grossman (two goals, six assists), senior forward Theresa Soltys (four goals, three assists) and senior forward Hana Fowler (five goals, one assist). Junior goaltender Claire Bronson has a pair of shutouts helping her to a .935 save percentage and 1.20 goals-against average.

Other games to keep an eye on

Duluth Marshall vs. Proctor/Hermantown, 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15. Last year’s Class 1A runner-up Proctor/Hermantown took both games between the Lake Superior Conference programs last season. Marshall’s 3-4-1 record isn’t flashy but includes losses to the likes of Warroad, Edina, Holy Angels and Brainerd/Little Falls.

Orono vs. Holy Angels, 7 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15. Nothing like a conference and section rivalry between a couple of top-5 teams in Class 1A. No. 3-1A Holy Angels (7-1) comes into the game off their first loss of the season, a 5-1 loss to No. 1-1A Warroad, which is also the only team to beat Orono (6-1-2) this season. The Spartans defeated Holy Angels three times last season, including 5-1 in the Class 1A, Section 5 championship to make their first state tournament.

Top Games poll

The MN Girls' Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.

Girls' Hockey Hub Headines

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  • By Ethan Olson, SportsEngine 02/02/2023, 3:15pm CST
  • Junior Claire Bronson recorded her seventh shutout of the season while sophomore Josie Grossman tallied two assists.
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