The Princeton/Big Lake girls hockey season came to an end at the hands of top-ranked Andover as the Huskies shutout the Tigers 13-0 on Feb. 6 in the quarterfinals of Section 7AA in Andover.
Despite the lopsided score, head coach Paul McElhone was not disappointed by the effort and heart shown by Princeton/Big Lake against the tough competition. “I was proud of the girls. They didn’t quit throughout the game, they kept their heads up and played the entire game.” said McElhone.
Andover, the number-one seed team in Section 7AA and favorites to win the state tournament, did not fail to live up to expectations putting up five goals in the first and second periods while holding Princeton/Big Lake to just six shots on net. “Their fourth-line would be a first-line on many teams, that’s hard to compete with,” said McElhone. For the game the Tigers were outshot 45-9.
Jamie Nelson, who is committed to Division I Minnesota State-Mankato to play hockey, was able to put in three goals add two assists leading the way for Andover.
MacKenzie Dembinski got the start in net and stopped 26 shots but the Huskies were able to chase the goaltender early in the third period. Shelby Ulm finished the game, making six saves while allowing three goals.
The loss ended the careers of six seniors from the Princeton/Big Lake team, including Kallie Abrahamson who led the team with 52 points on the season. “They were huge,” said McElhone on the senior class’ meaning to the program. “They became part of this girls hockey family, girls looked up to them. I say the same thing every year, how are we going to replace these girls.”
Princeton/big Lake ended its season with a 9-16 record and will aim to improve next year. With a young team, that had many players getting their first bit of varsity playing time this season, McElhone will look for those girls to step into bigger roles and make strides as players.
“Girls that were learning the system will now have a year behind them and know what we expect of them,” stated McElhone.
The Tigers will now go into the offseason before starting up again in November.