Calls From Home: Section 7 alumnae help Beavers end losing streak

On the men's side, Hermantown alum Tyler Watkins leads Union of the ECAC in goals this season.

092822.S.BP.BSUWHKY2 Claire Vekich.jpg
Bemidji State sophomore Claire Vekich (15) shoots the puck during the first period against Lindenwood on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

Bemidji State women’s hockey ended a lengthy losing streak on Feb. 4 in WCHA play against St. Thomas with the help of several Section 7 products.

Taylor Nelson (Cloquet-Esko-Carlton) and Claire Vekich (Grand Rapids/Greenway) were among the goalscorers in the Beavers’ 4-1 win at Sanford Center.

Vekich leads BSU in goals with six. Four of her six goals have come on the power play. This was the third consecutive week the sophomore has scored in the second goal of a series.Nelson’s goal was her first since the first weekend of the season, though the junior is tied for third on the team in points, as one of five players with six.

Ella Anick (Proctor/Hermantown) has two goals and two assists on the season for Bemidji, while Mirage teammate Alyssa Watkins has played in 24 games this season.

  • Sadie Peart (Grand Rapids/Greenway) scored on Feb. 3 as the Bobcats thumped Dartmouth 8-0 in ECAC play in Hanover, New Hampshire. Peart’s goal made it 3-0 early in the second period, which was how it stayed until the Bobcats pumped in five goals in the third.

Peart has 11 goals and 11 assists through 30 games of her senior season for Quinnipiac, which is ranked sixth in the country despite an unusual 11-3 loss at Princeton the weekend before. Peart is fourth on the team in goals and assists.


Calls From Home

Calls From Home is an occasional feature that highlights alumni from local high school athletic programs who are now competing in junior hockey or intercollegiate athletics outside the Northland. If you're aware of a local athlete who should be added to our list, please email with the subject "Calls From Home."

  • Maren Friday (Duluth Marshall) scored her fifth goal of the season for Union in a 3-1 loss at Dartmouth on Jan. 20.
  • Carissa Mudrak (Gentry Academy) has a goals-against average of 3.06 in 17 appearances for St. Michael’s College of Vermont. Mudrak and St. Michael’s only have one win on the season, but the junior has been facing an average of 45 shots per game and stopping them at a .936 rate.
  • Braelyn Sathers (Proctor/Hermantown) had her first three-point game of the season for Wisconsin-River Falls in a 9-0 home rout of Northland on Jan. 27. Sathers, a junior defenseman, has a goal and 10 assists in 22 games this season for the unanimous No. 1 team in Division III women’s hockey, doubling her point total over her first two seasons.
  • Charlie Prior (Duluth Marshall) earned her first collegiate win in goal for Lawrence, which beat Finlandia 3-1 on Jan. 28 in Appleton, Wisconsin. Prior made 18 saves. She has a 4.80 goals against average and an .894 save percentage in 12 appearances this season.
  • Hamline’s Annika Lindgren (Duluth Marshall) scored her third goal of the year on Jan. 13 vs. St. Catherine and has five points on the season.
  • Aurora Opsahl (Hermantown) has scored in four consecutive games for St. Benedict, starting the streak on Jan. 31 in a 4-2 win at Wisconsin-Superior. Opsahl has 11 goals and 13 assists, leading the team in goals, assists, points and shots on goal.
  • Jamie Benzie (Moose Lake Area) scored her second goal of the season for the Bennies in that game at Wessman Arena.


Aaron Pionk (Hermantown) scored for Waterloo in a 7-4 home loss to Fargo on Feb. 3. It was the defenseman’s ninth goal of the season to go with 17 assists in 37 games. Pionk had a four-assist game vs. Des Moines on Jan. 13 and scored in games on Jan. 14 and Jan. 27. The Minnesota State commit is sixth in points among USHL defensemen.

  • Zam Plante fought through a scoring drought with a three-assist game on Feb. 3 for the USHL’s Chicago Steel at Cedar Rapids, then scored for the first time in 13 games on the following night when the teams met in Illinois. Plante has four goals and 14 assists for the Steel in 26 games after an injury kept him from starting his season until November.
  • Max Plante scored twice in USHL play for the U.S. National Development Team Under-18 program in a Feb. 3 home win vs. Madison. Plante has four goals and 13 assists in 22 USHL games and has points in four of his last six contests.
  • Ty Hanson (Hermantown) scored for Sioux City on Feb. 3 in a home win over Des Moines. The defenseman, committed to Minnesota Duluth, has four goals and eight assists in 31 games for the Musketeers this season.
  • Hunter Bischoff (Grand Rapids) scored in back to back games for the Youngstown Phantoms on Jan. 21 (vs. Muskegon) and Jan. 27 (vs. Chicago). The Augustana commit has three goals and five assists in 35 games.
  • The top two rookie scorers in the North American Hockey League are both Grand Rapids alumni.

Chief among them is Joey DelGreco, who has 15 goals and 32 assists for the Oklahoma Warriors. DelGreco is third in the league in assists with 32 in 38 games and has 15 goals. His 47 points are fourth-most in the NAHL. DelGreco has scored five times in his last five games, including a two-goal, three-assist effort on Feb. 1 in a home win over Amarillo.

Garett Drotts is second in rookie scoring after posting 19 goals and 17 assists in 42 games with Kenai River. He broke out of a six-game scoreless slump with a goal and two assists at home vs. the Wisconsin Windigo on Jan. 28, then scored again on Feb. 4 vs. Chippewa Steel in Wisconsin.

  • Goaltender Carter Clafton (Grand Rapids) has three wins in his last seven starts for Amarillo, including a 33-save shutout vs. Odessa on Jan. 13. The Air Force Academy commit has a 2.85 goals against average and .903 save percentage.
  • Kade Shea (Duluth Denfeld) scored his third goal of the season for the Anchorage Wolverines on Jan. 4 at Janesville. He has three goals and six assists in 33 games.
  • DelGreco’s Rapids and Oklahoma teammate Kaden Nelson had two assists in a Feb. 4 win over Corpus Christi that raised his total to six goals and six assists on the season in 29 games.


Tyler Watkins (Hermantown) scored his eighth goal of the season for Union College on Jan. 28 in a 6-0 win over Rensselaer in ECAC Hockey play and leads his team in goals.

The junior forward has points in his last five games for the Flying Dutchmen and also scored on Jan. 13 vs. Brown. He has seven assists for a total of 15 points, good for third on the team.

  • Nolan Krenzen (Duluth Marshall) added a point to his ledger this season when he had an assist on Jan. 14 in Omaha’s home win over Minnesota Duluth in the NCHC. Krenzen now has a goal and six assists on defense in his junior season.
  • Levi Stauber (Duluth Marshall) scored his second collegiate goal for Michigan Tech on Jan. 14 in a 3-2 loss to St. Thomas. The sophomore has two goals and three assists for the Huskies as they go into their annual Winter Carnival weekend in Houghton, Michigan vs. Bowling Green.
  • George Grannis (Duluth Marshall) recorded his second assist of the season on Jan. 28 as his Clarkson team lost 4-2 to St. Lawrence. Grannis has six career points in 36 career games for the Golden Knights.
  • Dane Stoyanoff (Cloquet-Esko-Carlton) scored his first goal of the season for Bethel on Jan. 27 when he found the net vs. St. Mary’s. Stoyanoff, a sophomore defenseman, has 11 assists this season and a career total of 21 points in two years.

Royals teammate Jake Herter had two assists in his team’s 6-4 loss at St. Scholastica on Feb. 3. He has three goals and four assists this season, most recently scoring on Jan. 14 in a loss at Augsburg.

  • Micah Gernander (Greenway) scored for the second time this season for Gustavus Adolphus in the second period of a Feb. 3 loss at Hamline. He has two goals and an assist this season.
  • Willy Stauber (Duluth Marshall) had a three-assist game on Jan. 7 vs. St. Mary’s in a 4-1 non-conference home win for his Wisconsin-Eau Claire team. His only point since was an assist in a Feb. 4 loss to Wisconsin-River Falls. He now has two goals and eight assists in 21 games.
  • Peter Grytdahl (Hermantown) scored for the first time this season and second time in his career. The goal came on Jan. 20 in a road loss at Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and it came with an assist for his third and fourth points of the season.

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