By Craig Marx, Editor
The 2016-17 Northern Edge team features a 16-girl roster (four from Antigo and 12 from Rhinelander). The most obvious loss from last year’s squad is the notably-exceptional forward Katie Detert. Detert was a GNC all-conference standout out last season, along with now-departed teammates Lindsey Steger and Marie Sandstrom. Currently playing hockey for St. Cloud, Detert was responsible for 60 points in the regular season (44 goals and 16 assists) making her the points leader in the Great Northern Conference.
Coach Nicole Bunce also left the program in the offseason, where local Antigo resident Brian Bunnell has stepped in along with Chris Frederickson to assist head coach Kevin Sandstrom.
The girls finished 14-7-1 in 2015-16 and 7-3 in the GNC, where they tied for second place with Waupaca in a conference that Northland Pines eventually won. Pines managed to bump the Edge out of the second round of the WIAA playoffs following an Edge win over Lakeland 5-1 to begin the postseason.
The Edge does have the benefit of returning all-conference goaltender Shea Peterson, a senior that recorded a .908 save percentage and 2.28 goals allowed average for the 2015-16 year.
“[We returned] Shea Peterson, a strong junior class of skaters, and three freshman skaters who will contribute right off the start,” Bunnell said. “With the loss of Detert, being a very skilled and powerful individual, we are looking forward for all of the girls to step up their game to a higher level. What we need is for the girls to gel as linemates and as a team in being successful moving the puck, spreading the points, and winning games. We are looking for every skater to contribute this season to be in the hunt for a conference title.”
The Antigo contingent of Edge players includes Alicia Turunen, a freshman defenseman, Payton Bunnell, a junior playing both forward and defense, Sethany Sass, a senior forward, and Gracie Lenzner, a junior forward.
The Edge selected its three team captains – Payton Bunnell, Kourtney Carrico, and Shea Peterson – by a team vote.
“As coaches, we were in complete agreement with the voting,” assistant coach Bunnell said. “Since their freshman season, Bunnell and Carrico have led by example, giving 100 percent effort on and off the ice. Peterson…is the senior leader of the squad. All three of these girls are well respected by their peers and have the ability to motivate and teach the finer points of the game to their teammates.”
The Edge is one game into its current season as of now and suffered a 3-0 road loss to Lakeland last week Monday.
“In our loss at Lakeland, each and every girl showed us some good things. Our penalty kill and power play looked really good. Some initial standouts included Peterson in net with a tremendous game of 45 saves, the defensive pairing of Abby Oettinger and Bunnell, and the offensive play of forwards Carrico, Gwen Fredrickson, and freshman Alicia Turunen,” Bunnell noted.
Matchups to look for this year include the two conference rematches with Waupaca, a team with which the Edge has had four, one-goal games in the last two seasons, including two overtime games to boot. The girls’ three-day long holiday tournament is also of note, where the Edge hosts teams from all around the state and even Michigan for tourney play that includes a unique skills competition.
With young leadership and a senior goaltender doubling as a captain also, the Edge looks forward to the new season under its new, dedicated coaching staff and the pursuit of a GNC title.
“If we get the complete effort and commitment from each and every girl, we expect to be in the chase for a GNC title. Our job as coaches is now to bring each player up to their potential and provide the training as a team to be successful,” Bunnell said in closing.
2016 Northern Edge Girls Hockey Schedule
Monday, November 21 – at Lakeland (L 3-0) – Lakeland Ice Arena
Saturday, December 3 – at Waupaca – Waupaca Expo Center
Saturday, December 10 – vs. Chippewa Falls/Menomonie – Rhinelander Ice Arena
Tuesday, December 13 – vs. Point-Rapids/Marshfield – Rhinelander Ice Arena
Friday, December 16 – at Beaver Dam/Randolph – Beaver Dam Family Center
Monday, December 19 – vs. Northland Pines – Langlade County Multi-Purpose Building
Thursday, December 22 – vs. Medford – Rhinelander Ice Arena
Tuesday, January 3 – at Points-Rapids/Marshfield – K.B. Willett Ice Arena
Friday, January 6 – at Lakeland – Lakeland Ice Arena
Monday, January 16 – vs. Waupaca – Langlade County Multi-Purpose Building
Friday, January 20 – at Onalaska – Onalaska Omni Center
Saturday, January 21 – at Black River Falls – Milt Lunda Memorial Ice Arena
Tuesday, January 24 – at Medford – Simek Recreation Center
Thursday, January 26 – vs. Northland Pines – TBD
Saturday, February 4 – vs. Lakeland – Rhinelander Ice Arena
Tuesday, February 7 – vs. Northland Pines – TBD
Saturday, February 11 – at Appleton United – Appleton Family Ice Center