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Girls Hockey Preview: Lakers’ youth gained good experience last year

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The road through the 2012-13 season was a bit more bumpy than usual for the young Detroit Lakes girls’ hockey team, but it should help ensure a smoother one for this upcoming season.

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Although this year’s version of the Lakers will be young, but last years’ experience many of the youthful skaters picked up should pay off for the 2013-14 campaign, which starts Saturday at 2 p.m. when DL hosts Fergus Falls inside Kent Freeman Arena.

“We were younger last year and we struggled knowing where we needed to get better,” said DL head coach Gretchen Norby. “These girls had a good offseason and worked on their game, I have definitely seen improvement in these younger girls.”

The Lakers will return three seniors in Alexis Fritz, Annika Anderson and Sydney Haman. Norby will be looking to the senior trio to provide that leadership every young team needs.

One area Norby is comfortable with going into the season is on the defensive side of the ice.

Fritz will return experience, along with sophomore Chandra Johnson, freshmen Emily Schiltz and Jamie Bollig.

“I have good confidence in our defense, because we have a pretty good core,” Norby said.

The Lakers are a bit shorthanded at goalie, but do have good experience back with the return of junior Veronica Badurek.

Sophomore Haleigh Wenger decided to skate out instead of taking on goalie duties, thus adding depth to the forward attack.

“We know what Veronica brings to us and I have seen much improvement and a better glove from her,” Norby said. “But being short in goalie now, there is always fear of injury or illness.”

The big area of improvement needs to be scoring, an aspect the Lakers struggled with last year.

Offseason work included a shooting challenge set up by Norby, but also working on the fundamentals to help create space for gaining better scoring opportunities, with the next step of burying those chances in the net.

The Lakers do return their second-leading goal scorer from last year in sophomore Hailey Sonstegard, who had eight goals, along with Haman (seven goals) and junior Emily Seebold (five).

“The passing has been better and they are starting to play with their heads up, so they can see the ice,” Norby said. “Hailey Sonstegard has a heck of a shot and I think junior Randa Larsen can score some goals.

“We will be playing three lines consistently, so there should be some spread out scoring.”

Norby believes her team can contend with Alexandria and Fergus Falls in Section 8-1A and they will get their shot at both early, with the Otters coming in for the season opener Saturday and the Cardinals visiting Friday, Nov. 15, at 7:15 p.m.

The Lakers’ assistants will be Jeff Norby and Bruce Raboin, while former longtime Laker girls’ head coach Dan Maloney returns to coach the junior varsity.

The 2013-14 Detroit Lakes girls’ hockey schedule:

November

9 Fergus Falls

12 Thief River Falls

15 Alexandria

19 Fort Frances, Canada

21 at Moorhead

26 at Park Rapids

29-30 at Fergus Falls Tourney

December

3 Bemidji

5 Wadena-Deer Creek

10 Park Rapids

13 at Fargo North

17 at West Fargo

20 at Rocori

January

3 Northern Lakes

7 Morris Area

9 at Wadena-Deer Creek

11 at Fergus Falls

16 Crookston

21 at Morris Area

23 at Alexandria

25 East Grand Forks

28 at Northern Lakes

30 at Thief River Falls

February

1 Sartell

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Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN. 
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