Girls Hockey Gets Off to Sluggish Start but Rallies Midseason

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Girls Hockey Gets Off to Sluggish Start but Rallies Midseason

Paige Jaeger, Senior Sports Writer

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The Wayzata girls hockey team got off to a sluggish start, but were able to rally in the middle of the season to make it to 8-11.
Although typically a Lake Conference powerhouse, the Trojans are in a rebuilding year as they bring in young talent versus more experienced players.
This year’s team is led by a new coaching staff. Head coach Jess Christopherson previously coached Coon Rapids from 2010 through 2015. Christopherson was also an assistant coach for Saint Thomas from 2006 to 2010.
“Our goals are to compete well and get better every day. We have some high end players, but overall, we have many that are young and new to high school hockey,” said Christopherson.
According to Christopherson, one of the team’s biggest assets is depth. They have played three and a half forward lines and six defenders regularly.
Christopherson said, “We are definitely skilled and our girls are very competitive. Early on, they have shown a tremendous hunger to get better and do whatever it takes to help the team.”
The team is led by senior captains Jackie Russo, Natalie Heising, and Lindsay Czech.
According to Christopherson, with such a young team this season, the leadership from the seniors is crucial to its success.
Said Christopherson, “We have amazing leadership from our upperclassmen. These girls have had a lot of success both individually and with previous teams, and they know what it takes to win.”
Czech said, “The seniors help to set the tempo of practice and make sure everybody is getting better each day.”
Heising spent a few weeks of January in the Czech Republic playing for the U18 junior national team, winning gold against Canada on January 14th. She was named the top U.S.A player in the game against Sweden, a 4-0 win. Heising was also named one of team USA’s top players of the tournament.
Both Czech and Heising will be advancing their hockey careers at Division 1 schools next season. Czech will play for the University of Minnesota Duluth, and Heising will play for Pennsylvania State University.
According to Christopherson, the upperclassmen lead by example, showing the younger girls what it takes to be a part of the program.
“Our seniors are fantastic. Each of them are so different in terms of how they play and what kind of leadership they bring,” said Christopherson. “I would like to point out the leadership of Lindsay Czech. She has found a new role and new ways to help our team. She is an absolute difference-maker for us.”
Czech has spent this season on the bench due to do a torn ACL she sustained last fall. “One of our biggest assets this year is our energy and love for the game,” said Czech.
“Everyday they show up ready to go and ready to play there heart out. They don’t play to get noticed by scouts or to get more fans they play for each other and that’s what makes us better than other teams, our heart and our drive to succeed.”

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