River Hawks sweep season series with Royals
NWC senior captain ties career assist record
By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
Rogers head coach Scott Childers admits there are two dominant teams in the Mississippi 8 Conference with two dynamic players.
Buffalo senior Katie Rooney and North Wright County senior Dani Sibley are 1-2 in the conference in scoring. A 7-0 loss to the River Hawks on Jan. 15 at the RAC in Rogers dropped the Royals record to 0-4 against the top two teams in the M-8.
“We’ve competed well against Class A schools,” Childers said. “Being co-op schools, both NWC and Buffalo have a lot of kids they draw from. Cambridge-Isanti, Princeton, Hutchinson, Mound-Westonka are teams we fare well with. It’s a more level playing field, I guess.”
After dropping a 6-1 game to No. 11 (2A) Buffalo, in which Rooney finished with two goals and two assists, the Royals were overmatched 7-0 to Sibley and the No. 13 (2A) River Hawks in a game Jan. 15 at the RAC.
“They are so dynamic,” said Childers, on describing both Rooney and Sibley. “They skate well. They move the puck well. They shoot the puck well. They are just tough players to shut down.”
Not to be outdone by Rooney’s four points, Sibley finished with two goals and three assists and her line accounted for 11 total points in the shutout win. Maddi Sjelin finished with two goals and two assists and Rachel Heiber had two assists.
“We’ve been together since freshman year, so it’s fun. It’s cool to be together,” said Sjelin, on playing with her fellow senior line mates – all three being captains.
“Right before (Christmas) break, we put our three captains together,” said STMA head coach Jason Johnson. “I was ready to move things around a little bit, but the way they played in the first period they deserved to stay together.”
Junior goalie Alex LaMere recorded an easy six-save shutout. Rogers’ junior goalie Michelle Klimstra gave up seven goals, but made 47 saves as the Royals were outshot 54-6.
The Royals scoring woes continued into their next game, losing 3-0 on Jan. 18 at No. 10 (1A) Mound-Westonka. White Hawks goalie Emma Polusny stopped all 30 shots Rogers fired her way. The Royals went 0-for-6 with the man advantage.
The River Hawks proceeded to knock off both No. 19 (1A) Princeton and No. 18 (1A) Alexandria.
Senior goalie Dayna Duncan recorded her second straight shutout and third of the season in a 7-0 win Jan. 18 over the Tigers.
Sjelin finished with two goals and an assist and junior Mackenzie Johnson had a goal and two assists in the win.
Less than 24 hours later, the Hawks won their third straight game, defeating Alexandria 6-1. It was a milestone game for Sjelin, who added a goal and two assists. The two assists gave her a career total of 68 and tied her with Kasey Blomberg as the team’s all-time career assist leader.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for a while,” Sjelin said. “It will be kind of nice to have my name in the books.”
Both Rogers and NWC return to action this week. Rogers (6-12-4 overall, 1-4 M8) will host Cambridge-Isanti on Friday night at 7 p.m. NWC (16-3-1, 4-0) butted heads with Buffalo on Tuesday (results next week). Thursday at 7 p.m. they host River Lakes at Monticello.