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MVHS girls hockey looking to get on a roll
After losing only one regular-season game last year and returning a solid nucleus, the Mounds View High School girls hockey team was expected to be a force again this season. The season didn’t start out the way many had hoped, however, as the Mustangs went winless in their first four games.
Mounds View suffered through some early growing pains but heading into the final week before Christmas the ship appears to have been righted. The Mustangs have won six of their last seven games and hold a one-point lead in the Suburban East Conference standings.
“We’re starting to hit our stride,” said Mounds View co-head coach Christina Hanson. “We’re starting to play better, to play what we call Mustang hockey.”
Mounds View picked up a pair of conference wins last week against Roseville and East Ridge to improve to 6-1 in the SEC. The win over Roseville gives the Mustangs a 2-0-1 record against the Raiders over the past two seasons.
“That one felt good,” Hanson said following the Roseville win. “We buried chances tonight and in past games we struggled to do that. To be able to put the puck in really helps. The kids fought today. We knew this was going to be a battle. Roseville’s a great team. They’ve always been a great team, they’re well-coached and they’re very disciplined.”
Mounds View followed up the Roseville win with a 4-1 victory over an improving East Ridge squad that had already beaten Roseville this season.
The beginning of the season didn’t go as well as things are going now for Mounds View. The Mustangs needed a last-minute goal to tie Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village in the season opener and followed that up with a tie against South St. Paul. The next two games were losses as Mounds View fell to Stillwater in the conference opener and to Irondale in the annual district rivalry game.
“We’re a young team and we had some growing pains the first two games of the year,” Hanson said. “We lost a lot of points from the three seniors we lost last year. There were some pains in finding who was going to step up and play what role and who was going to be our goal-scorers.”
The role of goal-scorer has been taken on by a number of players.
“We’ve had really balanced scoring,” said Hanson. “We already have eight kids who have reached their career high in points in nine games so we’re getting a lot from everyone right now.”
Through 11 games, senior Bella Sutton leads the team in goals (eight), assists (11) and points (19). Sophomore Sydney Brodt is next with six goals and six assists. Seven other players have also lit the lamp at least once this season and a total of 12 have recorded at least one point.
“I think last year we relied heavily on five kids and this year it’s coming from all over the board - first line, third line, defense,” said Hanson. “We’re getting it done from all areas.”
Mounds View looks to continue its hot streak with two more conference games this week. Hastings pays a visit to the Super Rink on Tuesday before Mounds View hits the road to take on White Bear Lake on Saturday.
The Bears tend to be a thorn in Mounds View’s side no matter what kind of season the teams are having. Despite winning only five games all last season, White Bear went undefeated against Mounds View with a win and a tie.
During the holiday break, Mounds View plays in a tournament but at a new venue. After participating for a number of years in the Centennial tournament, the Mustangs have relocated to South St. Paul for the Kaposia Classic at Wakota Arena.
Hanson played hockey at South St. Paul High School and she and co-head coach Aaron Moberg were assistant coaches for the Packers before taking over at Mounds View last season. So there is a connection to the Kaposia tournament.
“Right when we left (South St. Paul), I think it was in the contract that they would put us in that tournament,” Moberg said. “We’re excited. We always love playing top teams and the tournament is full of top teams.”
Mounds View opens the tournament on Dec. 30 at noon with a rematch against Roseville. The game will count in the conference standings.
‘It’s great because we gain a non-conference game by using that as a conference game,” said Hanson. “We’ll take home ice, in quotation marks, at Wakota, my old stomping grounds.”
Also participating in the tournament are the host Packers, Hill-Murray, Lakeville North, Blake, Bloomington Jefferson/Kennedy and Hibbing/Chisholm.
The Knights close out the pre-Christmas portion of their schedule with a pair of games this week.
Irondale treks north to Lindstrom on Tuesday to take on former North Suburban Conference rival Chisago Lakes and visits current NSC foe Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village at Fogerty Arena on Saturday.
Irondale enters the week with a record of 8-3 following a pair of blowout victories last week. The Knights had a whirlwind 30 hours or so starting on Friday when they headed to the Twin Ports to take on Duluth. Irondale won that game 10-1 before venturing back to the metro to face St. Louis Park on Saturday. The Knights took down the Orioles 14-0 at the Super Rink in Blaine.
Once the Christmas revelry is done, Irondale plays in the Edina holiday tournament at Braemar Arena on Dec. 26-28.
Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village
If it wasn’t for Benilde-St. Margaret’s, the Panthers (7-2-1) would be unbeaten. SLP/SAV’s only losses this season have come at the hands of the high-powered Red Knights. Benilde beat the Panthers 8-0 on Nov. 22 and 4-1 on Dec. 7.
Spring Lake Park picked up two of its seven victories last week by beating Cambridge-Isanti 10-3 on Dec. 10 and the St. Paul Blades 3-0 on Saturday.
The Panthers have two games on the docket this week with a road game against Mahtomedi on Tuesday and a home game against Irondale on Saturday.
Brian Meyers can be reached at email@example.com.
Suburban East Conference girls hockey standings
|White Bear Lake||1-4-2||4-5-2||4|