Rebel road warriors back over .500

The script hasn’t exactly followed the detailed plan the Champlin Park girls hockey team intended to rely on, but the Rebels are back over .500 nonetheless.

Champlin Park hit the road and topped Maple Grove 4-3 Dec. 15, turning an early 2-1 deficit into the sixth win of its season.

Hailey Adair scored a goal and set up two. Leah Elledge got the game’s first goal. And defenders Briana Johnson – who started the year as a forward – and Courtney Potter both scored game-changing goals in the second period as the Rebels moved to 6-5 overall, and 5-4 (fifth place) in the Northwest Suburban Conference.

“It as a huge win for us,” said head coach Jim Koltes. “Things haven’t always gone our way this year, mainly injury-wise, but the girls have hung in there and now you can see we are really moving in the right direction.”

The victory was the team’s fifth in seven games, and it came with junior Maddy Foss back in goal for Champlin Park.

Foss started the year as a back-up to sophomore Hannah Goettle, but after Goettle was hurt early in a Nov. 17 loss at Anoka, Foss was forced into action.

She’s played ever since.

“Maddy is doing a good job, and we’ve needed her to do a good job,” said Koltes. “It’s harder than she thought it was going to be. She’s had to play every game, and I think that has been the hardest part for her to get over. That is a tough thing, not just physically, but mentally as well. But she’s played well.”

Foss made 20 saves on 23 shots in the victory over Maple Grove, and of the three that eluded her, two went in off shin in front of her.

The victory was also the Rebels fourth of the season on the road, and they are 3-2 now in Northwest Suburban Conference games away from the Champlin Ice Forum.

“Anytime you win a road game in this conference is good,” said Koltes. “We kind of have that philosophy of ‘lets get two points and get back on the bus and go home.’ We talk about it all the time, and we’ve gotten two points in three pretty tough places so far.”

The Rebels conference road victories have come at Elk River, at Centennial, and now at Maple Grove. This week, there are two more bus rides scheduled.

Champlin Park played at North Metro Dec. 18, before traveling to play Bloomington Jefferson at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 22 at the Bloomington Ice Garden.

There was a chance Goettle would return for that Saturday game.

“If not then, it will be at the start of our holiday tournament,” said Koltes.