The 2012-13 Andover Huskies headed north last weekend to see if they have the metal to compete in the always tough Northwest Suburban Conference.
Looking to find a few forwards and a goaltender, Head Coach Ben Monahan and his veteran assistants, Melissa Sailor, Whitney Restemayer and Colin Longren had to see promise over the course of 4 scrimmages against sometimes overmatched, but always gritty squads from the heart of Minnesota hockey.
Rookie head JV coach, Adam Denny, was pleased with the gutty and determined performance of his young pack of puppies who despite a thin bench and tired legs, mastered every shift with enthusiasm and confidence seldom seen this early in the season. Denny was all smiles after posting three wins in four games, knowing the combination of a short bench, team chemistry and unbridled enthusiasm would not only lead to some regular season Ws, but also a full squad that will be pushing varsity players for for playing time.
Monahan found he has a capeable replacement at goaltender to replace the departed All Conference netminder Madde Denny. Madeleine Rooney wasn't tested often, but rose to the occasion when called upon as the varsity squad posted three wins and a tie.
Rooney has the benefit of seasoned veteran defensemen Hannah Trom, Carly Haskins, Sierra Langlie and Taylor Hartje as her personal guardians. The D-corps not only has experience, but also have a physical and sometimes nasty streak in their games.
Up front, leading scorer, Mikayla Goodin and playmaker Reb Voltin return, as does the wiley Abbie Turpin, who is poised to have a breakout season as a Junior. The Huskies also showcased an agressive and athletic group of seniors up front with captain McKenzie Aguilar, Mariah Czech, Paige Dale, and Krista Flanagan who are proven leaders. Freshmen Sidney Portner and McKenzie round out the forwards. Both show promise as playmakers and can be a disruptive force as well. Coach Denny knows that he will benefit from the program's quality which will benefit by their small quantity. He described the Iron Range weekend as a perfect kickoff to what shapes up to be an exciting season.
The Huskies open their regular season on Saturday, Novemer 10 in Rosemount.