2011-12 Winter Preview: First line, starting netminder return to lead the Park girls hockey teamStrong returning players and quick-learning newcomers buoy hopes for the Park girls hockey 2011-2012 season.
By: Teresa Townsend, South Washington County Bulletin
Strong returning players and quick-learning newcomers buoy hopes for the Park girls hockey 2011-2012 season.
“We return our entire first line from last season in center Caitlin Quinn and wings Mary Turitto and Allie Thalhuber. They are now one of the most threatening combinations in the conference and their experience should lead to more scoring,” said head coach Steve Morse.
The three players have scored seven of the eight goals for Park in their last two games, but their strong offense has yielded only one win, leaving the team at 1-2.
“Graduating four defensemen leaves us inexperienced at the blue line, but we will be anchored by Anna Keys, and have confidence in our incoming defensemen and feel they are improving rapidly . . . Our senior goaltender Allie Morse should keep games close while they learn the ropes,” coach Morse said.
So far this has been the case. Park fell in a tight game to Stillwater 4-3, but found their first win of the season against Burnsville 4-1.
Key wins from last year’s season came in overtime against Suburban East Conference foes Stillwater and Mounds View, proving Park’s ability to compete with Minnesota’s top teams. In order to continue that tradition, the Wolfpack will have to establish itself as a tough opponent at the beginning of each game.
The team’s win against Burnsville, a section foe, this year demonstrates that they’re already on their way, but also reveals how much they still rely on veteran varsity players.
In these early season games Park’s varsity works to overcome inexperience and any self-doubt and become a cohesive competitive team. Considering his team’s performance in the season so far, Morse believes his team capable of becoming a threat.
“As long as we see the improvement that we are seeing, we’ll be in contention,” Morse said. "We feel good . . . I think the girls are gaining some confidence.”