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Top games: Minnetonka takes a 12-game winning streak into the week

By Heather Rule, SportsEngine , 01/09/23, 10:15AM CST


Jan. 14: The Skippers beat the Hornets 4-2 in season’s first meeting between these two Lake Conference foes.

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.

Edina vs. Minnetonka

1 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14

These two Lake Conference rivals are among the state's best in Class 2A. 

After defeating Andover in a holiday tournament at Braemar Arena, Minnetonka reached the top-ranked spot in Class 2A, according to the Jan. 1 coaches’ poll. Meanwhile, Edina has held the No. 4 spot for most of the season. The Hornets seek revenge after a 4-2 home loss to Minnetonka on Dec. 10.

The Skippers are undefeated in four conference games so far. After Saturday’s 2-0 shutout (the Skippers’ seventh of the season) of North Wright County, Minnetonka is 15-1 and allowing exactly 1.00 goal per game on average. They’ve won 12 straight games since the lone loss, a 4-3 late defeat at the hands of rival Andover.

Four of the top five scorers for Minnetonka are Division-I commits. But their roster is deep with a total of eight players committed to Division I programs, four of them to the Gophers.

Senior Josie Hemp is one of those future Gophers, and she’s the Skippers’ assists leader with 17. She has a helper in eight of her last nine games. Five Skippers are on the roster for Team USA at the U18 Women’s World Championship happening in Sweden: Lindzi Avar, Kendra Distad, Layla Hemp, Elly Klepinger and Ava Lindsay.

The Hornets have a pair of games before facing Minnetonka this week. Edina is 9-3-1 this season with two losses to Andover and the one to Minnetonka.

The defense backstopped by senior goaltender and Princeton commit Uma Corniea, has allowed only 17 goals on the season with a 91.3% penalty kill. Wisconsin commit, junior right winger Hannah Halverson (eight goals, 10 assists), leads the Hornets’ scoring effort, followed by sophomore left wing Whitney Horton (six goals, 11 assists). Halverson assisted on both freshman Lorelai Nelson goals in Edina’s 2-1 victory over Warroad on Jan. 6.

Luverne vs. Albert Lea

7:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10 

No. 14-1A Luverne vs. No. 18-1A Albert Lea meet up. Last season, Luverne shut out Albert Lea 6-0. Albert Lea enters play this week 8-6-0 and tied for second in the Big 9 Conference, while Luverne sits second in the Big South Conference at 9-3. 

What to know about Luverne’s offense? It all starts with senior Mankato commit Kamryn Van Batavia and her 24 goals and eight assists. She has nine multi-goal games this season and scored her 400th career with a goal in a 2-0 win over River Lakes on Dec. 26. Van Batavia’s 402 career points put her in 10th place for career scoring leaders in the state. Currently, only four players in the state have more goals this season than Van Batavia.

Sophomore Payton Behr (nine goals, 15 assists) and eighth-grader Izzy Steensma (seven goals, nine assists) round out the top-three scorers for Luverne.

Albert Lea, meanwhile, rebounded recently from a pair of 4-0 shutout losses to defeat Winona 7-0 for its fourth shutout victory of the season. Backing those shutouts in net is the tandem of junior Rachel Doppelhammer (4-2-0) and sophomore Jayda Moyer (4-4-0). Doppelhammer has three of the team’s shutouts with a 1.67 goals-against average and .931 save percentage, while Moyer has a 2.10 goals-against average and .919 save percentage.

Offensively, sophomore defenseman Mika Cichosz has 13 goals (two on the power play, one shorthanded) and three assists to lead Albert Lea in scoring. She’s followed by sophomore Shelby Evans (nine goals, five assists) and eighth-grader Morgan Goskeson (seven goals, four assists).

Maple Grove vs. Andover

7 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 10 

A second pair of top-five teams in Class 2A and conference rivals tangle this week when No. 5-2A Maple Grove visits No. 2-2A Andover for their only regular-season meeting.

With more conference games played, Maple Grove stands alone at the top of the Northwest Suburban Conference standings, though both the Crimson and Huskies are undefeated in conference play so far. Andover has won seven consecutive over the Crimson, with Maple Grove's last win coming in 2017. 

The Crimson come in on a 13-2 mark for the season with a power play scoring at a 55.6% clip. Of their 63 goals this season, 15 have come with the advantage (15-for-27). They’re on a four-game winning streak since a one-goal loss to Minnetonka in the Walser Invitational.

Senior Stella Retrum comes off a four-point game in a 9-3 victory over Alexandria, and junior Bella Shipley also scored a pair of goals during her five-point game. Shipley has six goals and six assists during the four-game winning streak. Retrum also has six goals during that span; The Crimson's leader scorer (21 goals, 16 assists), she has at least one goal in every Maple Grove victory this season.

The Huskies are 12-2 this season, with losses to top-five teams Gentry Academy and Minnetonka. Since losing to the Skippers, Andover strung together three victories outscoring Edina, Blake and No. 3-1A Proctor/Hermantown by a combined 15-4.

Senior Isa Goettl (nine goals, 23 assists) is the team points and assists leader, plus five of her helpers have come on the power play. Her 23 assists are tied for fifth-best in the state. Senior center Ella Boerger has 14 goals and 27 points this season, followed by junior St. Thomas commit Nora Sauer’s 11 goals and eight assists. Junior defenseman and St. Thomas commit Cailin Mumm is also on the Team USA U18 Women’s World Championship roster.

Other games to keep an eye on

Woodbury vs. Roseville/Mahtomedi, 4 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14. Woodbury travels to Roseville/Mahtomedi for a Suburban East Conference game. Roseville/Mahtomedi won the first meeting this season, tying the game late and getting a 3-2 overtime win. Roseville/Mahtomedi comes into the week on a four-game winning streak. 

Northfield vs. Owatonna, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 12. Each team has five Big 9 Conference victories coming into the week. The team's split the season series last year, while Northfield prevailed over Owatonna in the Class 2A, Section 1 semifinals. The rivals will also meet at the end of this year’s regular season.

Top Games poll

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

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