Raider girls ready for regular hockey season opener
The winter sports season begins tonight (Thursday) with a girls hockey game at Eastview in Apple Valley. The team has already been hard at work for a few weeks now, as the season got started Oct. 29 with opening day. A total of 51 players tried out for a spot on one of three teams.
There is a U14 team, the junior varsity and the varsity.
"This is the largest group of kids we have had tryout in 17 years, so that is a good sign, but it was also difficult, making sure that we filled each teams rosters spots accurately in the three days we had to observe their play," coach Jeff Corkish said.
Some good news for Corkish was that he didn't have to cut anyone.
"The last thing we want to do is end someone's wishes to play hockey, and so far we have not had to do that," he said.
The Raiders traveled to Duluth over the weekend for a few scrimmages. Hastings played against the eighth-ranked team from Lakeville South.
"The coaches were very impressed with how well we did," Corkish said. "From a fan's perspective, it probably looked really good since we outscored them, 5-3. The coaches were also very impressed with the offense that we created. The goal scoring was done on some very nice forechecking pressure and support on the puck, ending with some nice shots and moves to open up holes. They were really goal-scoring goals and that type of skill was nice to see this early."
On Saturday, Hastings played No. 6 ranked Hill Murray and Rochester Century.
"Both games were not as well played as on Friday night, but we were not disappointed with the effort since part of this trip was about building chemistry and staying up late seemed to be part of that process for the girls," Corkish said.
The offseason and the weekend have furthered Corkish's high hopes for this season.
"The outlook for the season is quite high, knowing that we have some very high skill on our top two forward lines," he said. "Our goalies are still only ninth and 10th graders, but they are beginning their second season at varsity and looking good early on. Our defense will be led by Erin Moes, who has put a lot of time into the offseason to develop and it is obvious how much she has improved since last year. Mikayla Minnaert is a junior who also showed her experience this past weekend, keeping the game simple and playing steady all three games. Hailey Lundquist is a new addition at defense, but with her skill level and skating ability she has already started to make a positive impact, making our young defense more experienced and confident."