by MATTHEW DAVIS
Champlin Park girls hockey coach Jim Koltes hopes to have the Rebels build on their success from last season with a solid returning crew.
“I think we have laid a great foundation over the past three years and it seems like every year we are more in tune to what we have to do to get ready for the season,” Koltes said. “We have all the potential in the world to compete for the conference title as well as the section 5AA title. The kids have worked hard this off season and it shows early on that we are in for a solid season.”
In 2012-2013, the Rebels went 16-11 overall and fell to state-bound Mounds View in the section semifinals, 3-2, in the final two minutes of the game.
All-conference sophomore forward and leading offensive Kaleigh Martinson returns for the Rebels. She had 24 points with 14 assists last season.
Senior forward Marjie McNamara and junior defender Bri Johnson also return as all-conference players from last year. Johnson had 12 goals, the top returning goal scorer. Senior forwards Maggie Cragg and Sydney Peluf also return, and both earned all-conference honorable mention last season.
Abbey Dokken will likely provide more offensive punch this year with an increased role. The junior forward has played on varsity last year.
Koltes also anticipates big things from Jordan Trapp, Kaylee Wood, Emil Stoll, Anne Lorentzen and Natalie Buroyne. Burgoyne and Wood are coming off strong seasons with other teams.
Lorentzen looks solid at tryouts, Trapp has size on defense and Stoll could make a big impact at forward. They will need players to step up offensively since key seniors graduated.
Hailey Adair, Leah Elledge and Courtney Potter all graduated and moved on from the program. Adair and Potter now play NCAA Division III hockey, and Elledge plays at Division I Lindenwood.
“We lost some scoring last year, so we need kids to step up into those roles, but what we have seen so far, we should be in good shape to score some goals,” Koltes said.
Junior goalie Hannah Goetl will return to net for the Rebels. She spent much of last season out to injure, but she demonstrated her effectiveness when healthy. Goetl had a .930 save percentage and allowed 2.21 goals per game. Koltes hopes to have her back by the second week of the season.
For the time being, the Rebels have senior Maddy Foss in goal. She has also been effective with a 0.885 save percentage and a 3.12 goals per game from last season.
“She did a great job filing in for the injured starter last year,” Koltes said.
Defense will be key to the success of this Rebels squad.
“We play solid defense and we are very disciplined in what we want to do,” Koltes said. “This should help us go a long way.”
The Northwest Suburban Conference will provide plenty of challenges ahead for the Rebels. They will have to contend with conference powers Elk River, Blaine, Centennial Andover and Armstrong-Cooper.
The Rebels opened the season with a 4-1 loss to Hopkins on Thursday, Nov. 7. Dokken had the lone goal, which came at 12:30 in the first period, assisted by Marjie McNamara. Foss finished the game with 34 saves.
Armstrong-Cooper girls hockey coach Kevin Gray had his team drop the puck against No. 5 Edina in their season opener for a reason.
They want to play the best teams and prepare for a big postseason run. The Armstrong-Cooper program has been building over the past three years since the co-op began in 2011. They have expectations to contend for the Northwest Suburban Conference title and a state tournament birth.
“It is full of great families and student-athletes-which our community has rallied around,” Gray said. “It is a little bit of a rags to riches story.”
Unfortunately for the Falcons, they lost their season opener to the Hornets 2-1. However, recent history indicates that this Falcons team can still compete with the best in the state.
They struggled at 6-16-4 overall in 2011-2012, but they showed drastic improvement in the following season with a 16-9-2 record overall and reach the section semifinals. The pollsters also took notice of the Falcons and gave them a No. 16 ranking in the last coaches’ poll.
Plenty of talented players return from that team. They have two-all conference goalies back in senior Ashley Riteen with a .908 save percentage and senior Lexi Ripka with a .914 mark.
Division I Bemidji State signee Emma Terres returns as one of their top scorers. The senior had 46 points and all-conference honors. Senior forward Marissa Odell also returns after a 44-point season last year.
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