Who: Andover Huskies vs. Edina Hornets - Girls Hockey
Puck drop: 9:30 a.m. CT
Watch: Bally Sports North
Where: Blakeslee Stadium, Mankato
The Andover girls' hockey team focuses a lot on being mentally tough. That piece can be key in one-goal games and eventual victories they've pulled out this season against Benilde-St. Margaret's, Rogers, Minnetonka, Maple Grove and Hill-Murray. The top-ranked Huskies found themselves in many close-game situations this season where being confident in themselves, relying on their abilities and trusting the process has helped net favorable outcomes, according to coach Melissa Volk.
"We just talk about how things are not always going to go your way in, obviously hockey, but most importantly in life," Volk said. "It's kind of up to you how you approach it and what you can do about it. We talk a lot about self-accountability, self-awareness and our team-first mentality."
As far as production, the Huskies look to their top line of juniors Ella Boerger, Madison Brown and Isa Goettl. Boerger and Brown are both committed to the University of St. Thomas. Boerger is the team's leading scorer with 18 goals and 38 points in 17 games. Brown and Goettl each had 29 points through 17 games.
The Huskies also have a lot more depth this season than they initially thought, Volk said. After graduating a large chunk of its roster, Andover came back with a young squad of underclassmen and upperclassmen fulfilling different roles. The depth includes six players from Andover's undefeated, state-championship 15A team from last season.
Freshman Maya Engler centers senior Sara Kaiser, who's committed to McKendree University for lacrosse and has plenty of goal-scoring ability. Freshman Hannah Christenson has also contributed some really good goals, Volk said.
Then there's senior captain Ashley Grabau's line with sophomore Nora Sauer and freshman Hannah Olson.
"They just get on pucks so hard and just irritate the heck out of people," Volk said.
The Huskies are particularly young on the blue line, with four freshmen - Mackenzie Jones, Avery Kasick, Courtney Little and Ella Thoreson - and sophomores Merrill Delich and Cailin Mumm, the only returning defender from last season. Along with the talent, they're all very coachable, can move the puck up ice quickly and have high compete levels, according to Volk.
The Huskies rely on second-year starter junior Courtney Stagman in net. She's 15-0-0 with four shutouts, a 1.26 goals-against average and .937 save percentage, both ranking within the top-10 in the state.
Because Andover has so many young players, the matchup with Edina on Hockey Day isn't necessarily considered a rematch from last year's Class 2A championship game in which Edina was victorious. But the rivalry between a couple of the top programs in the state the past few seasons remains.
"Just being able to play a game against Edina is just so good for girls' hockey," Volk said. "For people from literally all over the world that can tune in and just to see some of the best girls' hockey players across the nation at the high-school level."