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.
South Suburban Conference and Class 2A, Section 3 foes get set for a second meeting this season. Metro-South won the first meeting between the teams this season, a 5-1 margin on Dec. 3. In last year’s Class 2A, Section 3 semifinals, Metro-South defeated Apple Valley by the same score.
Apple Valley is 12-4-1 this season, carrying an eight-game unbeaten streak into the week. The Eagles outscored opponents 37-10 during a seven-game winning streak before skating to a 5-5 tie with Eastview over the weekend.
The Moran sisters lead the scoring efforts for Apple Valley’s offense. Sophomore Makayla Moran (28 goals, 17 assists), who has eight goals in her last six games, scored her 100th career goal on Jan. 8 in a 3-1 victory over Farmington. In her fourth season, she’s only four goals shy of her single-season career-high (32). Her older sister, senior defenseman and St. Cloud State commit Marie Moran (17 goals, 17 assists), leads the team with five power-play goals and also four power-play assists.
Metro-South has fallen below .500 on the season to 7-9 overall, having lost four of its last five games and will look to avoid a season-long three-game skid when it faces Apple Valley.
Senior Madisyn Krumholz (13 goals, eight assists) is the team’s scoring leader with five of her goals coming on the power play. Freshman Ella Bond (10 goals, eight assists) and junior Charlotte Goings (five goals, eight assists) round out the team’s top three in points this season.
Two of the state’s best goaltenders are on the rosters for this matchup. Hill-Murray, ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll released Jan. 10, visits No. 7-2A Holy Family Catholic for a non-conference game. Both teams have six shutouts this season, relying on solid team defense and No. 1 netminders.
Hill-Murray enters the game 14-2-1 overall riding momentum after an overtime victory against Simley and then a 2-1 victory over No. 2-ranked and defending state champion Andover.
Junior Chloe Boreen (26 goals, 12 assists) scored the game winner against the Huskies 45 seconds into the third period to break a 1-1 tie, while junior Grace Zhan made 31 saves. Boreen had a hat trick in last season’s victory over Holy Family Catholic.
The Pioneers lead the state with a 1.10 goals-against average behind Dartmouth commit Zhan, (1.25 goals-against average, .949 save percentage with four shutouts) who sees the bulk of the net time. The team's 19 goals allowed in 17 games this season is second in the state only to Edina’s 18 goals in 16 games.
Hill-Murray freshman Ava Cahill is 17-for-17 in saves this season with two shutouts (2-0-0). At the blue line, senior Ellah Hause is the team’s top-scoring defenseman with 11 goals and 14 assists (five on the power play).
Holy Family Catholic (14-4-1) and senior goaltender Sedona Blair are right there among the leaders in goaltending stats, too, which should make for a defensive contest.
The Fire have allowed just 25 goals in 19 games this season for a 1.29 goals-against average (fourth-best in the state). Blair’s .949 save percentage is tied with three other goalies for the third-best mark in the state.
Seniors Taylor Koeppl (four goals, 15 assists) and Justina Valentini (four goals, 13 assists) lead the way on the blue line. Holy Family Catholic rebounded from a 1-2-1 stretch with a three-game winning streak, including a 5-1 victory over No. 6-2A Maple Grove.
No. 6-2A Maple Grove (13-4-0) hosts No. 9-2A Centennial/Spring Lake Park (13-3-1) as the teams enter with 13 victories apiece. The Cougars (6-2-1) hope to hold onto first place in the Northwest Suburban Conference standings, while the Crimson are right on their heels (6-1-0).
Rivaling in conference and section play, these two teams have won the Class 2A, Section 5 title each of the last five years, while Centennial/Spring Lake Park is just 1-5 in its last six against Maple Grove. Considering the history, another section matchup may be down the road.
Centennial/Spring Lake Park has won five of its last six games. Senior and Minnesota commit Lauren O’Hara leads in goals and points (22 goals, 10 assists) and is tied for second in the state with seven of her goals on the power play; she also has four power-play assists. A pair of eighth-graders lead in the team’s assists category with Grace Laager (seven goals, 14 assists) and Jaycee Chatleain (four goals, 14 assists). In net, junior Kaitlin Groess is 9-3-1 with two shutouts, a 1.81 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.
Keep an eye on special teams for Maple Grove. The Crimson are 15-for-33 on the power play (45.5%). They’re also shutting it down on defense with a 90.7% penalty kill.
Junior Bella Shipley (14 goals, 24 assists) is the team’s assists leader and has the most power-play goals (six). Senior Stella Retrum (22 goals, 19 assists) has at least a point in every game this season, along with seven power-play helpers. Retrum is the state leader in shorthanded goals with six.
The Crimson will definitely be hungry for a victory, especially in conference play, after dropping their last two games to top-10 opponents Andover and Holy Family Catholic. The losses come on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
New Ulm vs. Luverne, 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 19: A pair of teams at the top of the Big South standings. No. 19-1A New Ulm is 11-6-1 this season and takes a seven-game unbeaten streak into this week, while No. 15-1A Luverne is 11-5-0 and won the first head-to-head meeting this season, 4-1 at New Ulm to open the season. These two also met in last year’s Class 1A, Section 3 championship, a game Luverne also won 3-2 in overtime.
Grand Rapids-Greenway vs. Andover, 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 20: Grand Rapids-Greenway is 12-7-0 as it heads to section-rival Andover this week. The Lightning relies on sophomore Mercury Bischoff to lead the offensive production. She has 35 goals and 20 assists in 19 games, good enough numbers to rank her fourth in the state in points. She ranks third in the state in goals scored. Andover, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A in the latest poll, shut out Grand Rapids-Greenway last season 7-0.
The MN Girls' Hockey Hub poll is for entertainment purposes only.