by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Elk River girls hockey, coming off a fifth-place finish at the state tournament and led by potentially the school’s all-time scoring leader, opens Thursday evening hosting the North Metro Stars.
The Elks were not a top-ten ranked team last year but made a great post-season run to win Section 7AA and two of three at state, finishing 22-9. They bring back 11 of the top 16 players.
Jonna Curtis, who delivered 47 goals, enters her senior year with 114 goals and 100 assists for 214 points. The New Hampshire recruit trails only Jessica Pullar, top scorer on the Elks’ 2004 state champion team, who had 248 points and 156 goals.
Four seniors are longtime starters – Curtis (fifth year), defender CasseyPetrich (fifth), forward Josie Brown (fourth) and defender Madison Ellis (fourth).
“I’d like to think we can finish in the top half of the conference, and make another run at going to state,” said coach Joe Heasley, noting that the NWSC has some strong teams.
The other returning starters are Tori Herrmann (sr G), Kayla Mills (sr D), Abby Kratzke (sr F), Chelsey Petrich (jr F) Katie Forrester (so D), Eily Heid (so F), Jordan McLaughlin (fr F).
Hermann had a 9-1 record after taking over late in last season, losing only at “state” against eventual champion Minnetonka 5-1, making 30 saves. She’ll be backed up by junior Kim Scott and freshman Tiffany LaFontaine.
Heasley plans to run Curtis, Brown and Chelsey Petrich on the first line, and McLaughlin, Heid, and Kratzke on the second line.
Heasley said he’s looking at six other skaters battling for three spots.
Early results indicate there could be at least a couple powerful teams in the NWSC as Anoka beat defending state champ Minnetonka and Blaine tied longtime power Edina.