With a 16-9-1 record, the Holy Family/Waconia Wildfire girls’ hockey team may have not had the breakout season they’d hoped for, but the Wildfire certainly put another solid season on the books and continue to build for the future.
“My expectations for this team were higher as we started the season,” head coach Ryan Rice said. “We were a little too inconsistent throughout the year.”
But Rice said he feels the team has the potential to compete with anyone.
“With that being said we also scheduled a tougher non-conference schedule than we had in previous years,” he said. “We will continue to build a tough schedule to help prep us for playing in a very difficult 2AA section.”
This season, the Wildfire beat Mound-Westonka twice and finished the year with a strong playoff game against Chaska/Chanhassen.
On the flip side, the team lost to Orono twice and fell just short of the Wright County Conference championship for the second straight year.
“We played well but could not really get anything going offensively against Orono,” Rice said.
The Wildfire finished the season 16-9-1 overall and 6-2 in the WCC. The season ended in a first round playoff loss to Chaska/Chanhassen on Feb. 7.
The Wildfire lose four great seniors this season in Brityn Ryshavy, Sarah Rosland, Jamie Kichler, and Shania Gonzales, who led the team both on and off the ice, according to Rice.
“(Ryshavy and Rosland) are both tremendous kids and (it) will be difficult to replace the roles that they played on the team,” he said. “Jamie Kichler and Shania Gonzales have both been with the program since I started five years ago. They have both been mainstays on our blue line for the past five years and it will be very difficult to replace their leadership.”
Next year, the Wildfire will need to fill some holes both on offense and defense.
“We have a good balance of older kids and younger kids, it will all depend on who will step up to work hard this summer to get stronger,” Rice said.
Among those older players are seven forwards with varsity experience, including current points leader Megan Menzuber. Abby Hanscom and Brooke Riddle will also return.
On the top of next year’s list of goals is winning the conference, after coming so lose two years in a row.
“We have been knocking on the door, but just can’t get our foot in the door,” Rice said. “I also feel like we are pretty close to being really competitive in our section, which is loaded with good teams every year. Our goal is that everyone is always working hard to help the team and to always be improving.”
All-Conference awards went to Megan Menzuber, Sarah Rosland, and Abby Hanscom, while All-Conference Honorable Mention honors went to Lexi Hartmann, Jamie Kichler, and Shania Gonzales. Menzuber was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com