Prep girls hockey preview: Grand Rapids/Greenway
Sophomore Mercury Bischoff may be one of the top players in the state.
Head coach: Brad Hyduke, 13th season
2021-22 record: 18-9
Conference: Lake Superior
Key departures: G Makenzie Cole (18-9, 1.71 GAA, .923 save percentage); Cole is now at St. Scholastica
Key returners: So. F Mercury Bischoff (49-25—74), sr. F/C Kalle Reed (17-28—45), jr. F Molly Pierce (12-28—40), fr. F/C Kylie DeBay (11-7—18), so. F (Mira Rajala 4-5—9), sr. D Jazzy Bischoff (2-21—23), jr. D Allie LeClaire (2-11—13), jr. D Cali Madsen (1-5—6)
Newcomers to watch: Sophomore forward Ryleigh Sherlock should have an impact after getting called up from the U-15 team. Senior forward Reanna Smith is back after transferring from Warroad, where she had 20 points as a sophomore on the Warriors’ state-tournament team. She’ll be out the first half of the year due to injury.
Outlook: The Lightning return almost all their forwards and scoring from last season, including prolific playmaker Mercury Bischoff, and all but one defenseman. What had been a relatively young group is now a veteran group with potential to have another quality season. Last year the team earned the No. 2 seed in Section 7AA, behind top-seeded Andover, which went undefeated en route to the big-school state championship. All eyes will be on the goaltending competition as there is a three-way battle for playing time. Development and consistent play between the pipes will be key.