With 17 letter-winners returning and several talented newcomers, the Maple Grove girls’ hockey team is primed for another banner season.

The Crimson went 21-8-1 last season. They captured the Section 5 title and took home the consolation championship at the state tournament. The top returning players are junior forwards Lauren Stenslie (21 goals, 20 assists) and Tristana Tatur (24 goals, 10 assists), senior forward Chloe Corbin (nine goals, 18 assists), and junior defenders Jenna Timms (two goals, 12 assists), Brigit Goetsch (eight assists). Stenslie led the state tournament in goals scored last winter.

Other returners are senior wings McKayla Machlitt and Sam Nordstrom, junior wings Courtney and Caitlyn Leising, sophomore wing Tia Rice, junior center Sam Stelljes, senior defenders Sarah Bergland and sophomore defenders Annika Johnson and Jenna Brandt.

Maple Grove graduated some key players but coach Amber Hegland will be able to reload with talented newcomers. Among the new Crimson are junior goalies Brooke Cassibo and Donna Fowler, freshman forwards Stella Retrum, Ella Olson and Madi Soukup, freshman defender Emily Oakland and eighth grade goalie Dani Strom.

Hegland looks for the Crimson to be a very competitive squad.

“We have 10 forwards and four defenders back with varsity game experience,” Hegland said. “The talented newcomers are driven to work, improve and play. They have high hockey IQ and he ability to adapt and adjust.”

The Crimson are off to a 5-0-1 start. Retrum (six goals, four assists), Tatur (five goals, six assists)) and Stenslie (three goals and six assists) are leading the offense. Cassibo has been solid in goal and picked up a shutout 1-0 win over Centennial.

Maple Grove next hosts Anoka Thursday, Nov. 26.

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