Archive for the ‘Girls High School Hockey’ Category

A Season to Remember at Lakeville North

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

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by Jim Skelly

A National Signing Day event held in November at Lakeville North High School filled the room with a school-record 18 student athletes declaring their intent to participate in NCAA athletics. It also foreshadowed what was to become a winter season that athletes, students and supporters, and prep sports followers from throughout Minnesota will be discussing for years to come.

Lakeville CVBPanther teams filled the trophy cases with state tournament hardware including a first-ever Boys Basketball title. Boys Hockeyadvanced to their first-ever title game and Girls Hockey took home the third place honors. Girls Basketball gained a fourth-place finish at state while the Gymnastics and Girls Alpine Ski teams also advanced to state. That’s an amazing record of success for any school, and a particularly impressive showing for a school with an enrollment of just over 1,700 students. Here’s a recap of a winter season to remember at Lakeville North.

Boys Basketball
J.P. Macura made it clear throughout the season that he was more interested in his team winning the state championship than any personal accolades. After tallying 43 points in the 4A State Championship Game facing perennial power Hopkins and leading the Panthers to its first ever crown you could say he got both.

Macura, who signed to play his college basketball at Xavier University, hit on long-range three pointers and slashing drives to
the hoop putting on a legendary scoring display. But he wasn’t the entire story. Sophomore guard Drew Stewart was fouled after draining a three pointer in the game’s final 30 seconds and junior forward Connor Flack rebounded the missed free throw to give the Panthers the lead, completing a five-point swing. The Panther’s “big man” Bronson Bruneau also saved his best game for last, scoring 16 points and gaining All-Tournament team honors along with Macura and Flack. The Panthers,
coached by John Oxton, finished with a 27-5 overall record.

Boys Hockey
When freshman forward Henry Enebak scored in overtime in the state quarterfinals to give Lakeville North a 2-1 victory over Roseau, it made program history. For the first time ever a Panthers team advanced beyond the opening round at the Xcel Energy Center. One night later, junior Nick Poehling made history again, scoring a double-OT goal in a 5-4 defeat of Eden Prairie, a shot that propelled Lakeville North into their first-ever attempt at a state title. While that opportunity was missed in an 8-2 loss to Edina, the Panthers did collect a second-place trophy along with some well-earned respect.

The record-setting finish for the Panthers was right in line with the type of hockey they played all season long and a testament to their depth on the ice. Junior forwards Ryan and Nick Poehling welcomed freshman brother Jack Poehling to complete a high-scoring first line attack. Solid defense led by juniors Matt McNeeley, Angelo Altavilla and Jack Sadek, and strong goaltending from Sr. Captain Will Dupont and freshman Jake Ottinger added to the Panthers’ effectiveness. Resulting in a 25-5 record–a season that included an inaugural South Suburban Conference Championship to accompany a second consecutive
Section 1AA title for third year coach Trent Eigner.

Girls Hockey
Panther Girls Hockey had finished in fourth-place and third-place in consecutive previous trips to the Xcel Energy Center with sights set on advancing for a chance to play for a title. With a strong defensive effort led by D1 college recruits Dani Sadek (Ohio State) and Taylor Flaherty (North Dakota), and state goals against leader junior Abby Cooper between the pipes, the Panthers were positioned to make another run. Lakeville North avenged a 2-1 semifinal loss to Benilde St. Margaret’s to defeat Eden Prairie 5-1 for a second consecutive third place finish at state.

Along with producing a state banner for Ames Arena, the Panthers collected their third consecutive South Suburban Conference title to go with their three-peat of Section 1AA crowns finishing with a 24-5-2 record for coach Buck Kochevar. Five-year standout Alexis Joyce (Bemidji State) is one of five Panthers committed to college hockey programs including Sadek, Flaherty, and St. Thomas recruits Heidi Winiecki and Maddie McGlade.

Girls Basketball
Having witnessed state trips for both hockey programs and boys basketball, the Panther Girls Basketball Team was primed to make a run of their own. At the season’s onset, legendary coach Andy Berkvam turned over the coaching duties to Panther alum Shelly Soule. The new coach and the 2014 team carried on the tradition of excellence by overcoming the odds and returning from state with a fourth place trophy.

Girls BasketballThe unranked and upset-minded Panthers eliminated the No. 2 seed Centennial in the opening round before dropping a semi-final match-up with conference foe Bloomington Kennedy, and the third place game to Eden Prairie 48-44. Seniors Kendall Naatjes, Erika Rozell and Jess Meidl will graduate, but the shelves are well-stocked with young talent. Leading scorer Junior MacKenzie Denk and freshman Temi Carda were named to the state all-tournament team. They are joined by a fleet of talented, hard-working underclassman and a coach with state tournament experience. Lakeville North finished with a 21-11 overall record.

While the success experienced during the winter season is considered a relatively rare feat for one high school, it is consistent with the overall athletic success enjoyed by Lakeville North over the course of this school year. Football, Girls Soccer and both Boys and Girls Cross Country advanced to state during the fall season. With many teams comprised of underclassman, coupled with strong coaching staffs and a supportive community, a repeat showing of a Panther Pride state “four-peat” may be in the future.

photo by Jim Lindquist

Hannah Brandt of Hill-Murray named Ms. Hockey

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

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MINNEAPOLIS — Hannah Brandt, a senior forward on the Hill-Murray High School girls’ hockey team was named the winner of the 17th annual Ms. Hockey Award byLet’s Play Hockey newspaper today at the annual Ms. Hockey Awards Banquet. The award, presented to the top girls’ high school hockey player in Minnesota, is based on the following criteria: academics, community/extracurricular activities, citizenship, coachability and, of course, on-ice performance.

 Considered one of the top players in the nation in her age group, Hannah Brandt led the Pioneers to the No. 1 ranking in Class AA during the season with her state-leading scoring totals of 59-31–90 in 26 games.

The first-ever Ms. Hockey winner from Hill-Murray, Brandt was held without a point in only one game (Dec. 20 at South St. Paul), and posted 22 multi-point and 20 multi-goal games on the year. She notched 13 hat tricks and recorded a trio of six-point games.  A member of the gold medal-winning U.S. Women’s National Under-18 Team at the IIHF World U18 Championship, Brandt helped Hill-Murray to a 25-3-0 overall record and within one win from earning its second straight trip to the state tournament.

A two-year team captain and five-time team MVP, she has been named to the all-state team in four consecutive seasons. Following high school, Brandt will continue her hockey career at the University of Minnesota. “There have been some great female hockey players to play in Minnesota but I truly believe that by the time Hannah finishes her high school, college and international playing career, she will be known as one of the best to have ever played women’s hockey,” Hill-Murray head coach Bill Schafhauser said. “When you combine her physical talents with her innate ability to anticipate plays before they even take place, you will see one of the best players in the world at her age group.” 

Along with being an excellent hockey player, Brandt is also a top-notch student. She holds a 3.924 GPA in a rigorous curriculum with honors courses in math, English, biology, chemistry and Spanish. She earned the Hill-Murray Gold Service award for 40-plus service experiences, volunteering for several community organizations.

In addition, Brandt is a two-time letterwinner for the Pioneer soccer team. “Hannah is a member of the National Honor Society and volunteers her time to numerous community service causes that range from teaching young kids to skate to being an advocate for the homeless,” Schafhauser said.

The other finalists for Ms. Hockey were forwards Hanna Brodt of Roseville and Jonna Curtis of Elk River/Zimmerman, and defensemen Milica McMillen of Breck and Lee Stecklein of Roseville. Past winners include Karley Sylvester of Warroad (2011), Bethany Brausen of Roseville (2010) Becky Kortum of Hopkins (2009), Sarah Erickson of Bemidji (2008), Katharine Chute of Blake (2007), Allie Thunstrom of North St. Paul (2006), Gigi Marvin of Warroad (2005), Erica McKenzie of Hastings (2004), Andrea Nichols of Hibbing/Chisholm (2003), Ashley Albrecht of South St. Paul (2002), Renee Curtin of Roseville (2001), Krissy Wendell of Park Center (2000), Ronda Curtin of Roseville (1999), Laura Slominski of Burnsville (1998), Annamarie Holmes of Apple Valley (1997) and Winny Brodt of Roseville (1996). 

The 17th annual award, selected based on consultations with a panel of high school coaches, and Division I and III college coaches from Minnesota and Wisconsin, is sponsored by Let’s Play Hockey, the Minnesota Wild, Shock Doctor and DCS Image.