Prep girls hockey preview: Rebels look to outwork opponents
The Rebels hope to emerge as a dark horse in the crowded Section 7A field of teams, but to reach the top, they'll have to overcome a lack of depth due to low numbers.
Head coach: Reilly Fawcett
Assistant coaches: Nate Painovich, Nate Nielsen and Michaela Belanger
Returning starters: "A couple of our key forward returners are Sandra Ribich (14G, 22A, 36 pts), Megan Hattenberger (17G, 13A, 30 pts), and Gracie Hartl (17G, 6A, 23 pts)," coach Reilly Fawcett said. "(Our) key defensive returners are Hallie Klavu (13G, 21A, 34 pts), Jorja Jusczak (5G, 8A, 13 pts) and Mallory Hartl (1337:02 game minutes and .938 SV%)."
New Faces: "We were a very young team last year, so most of our girls are returning players," Fawcett shared. "We did get a few younger girls that will make an impact on the junior varsity team (Reese Nordstrom, Khloey Schmidt, and Paige Koecher). We are hoping that these girls can step up into a varsity role throughout the season."
Team Strengths: "Our biggest strength is that we are a very close knit group with determination. We fell short last season, and we are looking for redemption," Fawcett said. "Our girls have put countless hours into preparing themselves for this year over the summer and it shows in the first couple weeks of practice."
Biggest Challenge: "Our biggest challenge will be our numbers and depth," Fawcett explained. "In order to sustain a junior varsity (team), we have our varsity players playing at least a period of JV. We are also in one of the toughest sections. I have no doubt that we can overcome these challenges and our girls believe that, as well."
Goals and expectations: "Our expectation for this year is to be the hardest working team on the ice. We know that we might not be the most skilled team, but hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard," Fawcett said.
"One goal that we have is to make it in the Section 7A final this year, but we have to focus on one practice at a time and one game at a time. We have a tough section with Proctor/Hermantown, Marshall, Hibbing, CEC and we are looking to get redemption this year," Fawcett added.