By Bob Kuehl
The Mound Westonka/Watertown-Mayer/Southwest Christian girls hockey team ended its regular season with a flourish last week. The White Hawks defeated Waconia on Feb. 1 on Senior Night to earn their 20th win of the season – the highest regular season win total in program history. On Saturday night, Feb. 2, the team traveled to Delano to play a game that was postponed from Tuesday night. The game ended in a 1-1 overtime tie. That tie completed an undefeated regular season for the squad at 20-0-5 and marked the first time in school hockey history that either a boys or girls hockey team has gone undefeated in the regular season. The White Hawks joined Warroad as the only two Class A teams in the state to win 20 games this season. The tie also allowed the White Hawks to edge out Holy Family and win the Wright County Conference Championship.
Against Waconia on Friday night, the White Hawks started the game quickly and dominated throughout. Sophomore Brooke Pioske scored 7:17 into the game, assisted by senior Sydney Hules and eighth-grader Sydney Leonard. Just 52 seconds later, senior Lauren Burris scored on a rebound. Senior Sydney Bowe and sophomore Grace Peterson assisted on the play. Two minutes later, Burris scored again. Grace Peterson and senior Taylor Leonard assisted on that goal.
At the intermission, the score was 3-0 in favor of the White Hawks 3-and shots were 17-4 in favor of the home team. The six seniors were honored between periods. Bowe, Burris, Katelyn Elskamp, Hules, Emily Schepers and Taylor Smith were introduced with their parents. Between the six girls, they have 31 seasons in the White Hawks high school girls hockey program.
After the tears were shed honoring the seniors, the teams took a break and then returned to the ice for the second period. It was a repeat of the first period. Brooke Pioske started the scoring again 3:44 into the period on an unassisted goal. Grace Peterson scored less than two minutes later with assists going to eighth-grader Emily Wendorf and Brooke Pioske. Sydney Leonard scored on the next shift, with assists going to linemates Hules and Schepers. Waconia then scored to cut the margin to 6-1. The period ended with the White Hawks leading in shots 13-3.
Burris got her hat trick 7:42 into the period with an assist from Hules. Sydney Leonard then finished the scoring, with Grace Peterson and ninth-grader Montana Courneya getting assists. Shots in the third period were 17-2 with all four lines playing. Smith had eight saves in goal. The Hard Hat of the Game Awards went to Taylor Leonard.
With her three goals, Burris moved into fourth place in the all-time scoring list for the White Hawks.
The next night, the White Hawks traveled to Delano for an 8 p.m. game. It would match the top two teams of Section 2A. The teams had tied 3-3 on Jan. 4, and this game would be another hard-fought affair. Both goals were scored in the second period. Eighth-grader Gretta Pioske scored 1:49 into the second period, with assists going to linemates ninth-grader Bella Peterson and sophomoroe Avery Finck. Later in the period, Delano would tie the score on a shot from the point. The White Hawks would continue to pressure but be unable to score a second goal, despite outshooting the Tigers 44-25. The Hard Hat of the Game Award went to Bella Peterson. The tie should put the White Hawks in position to be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming section playoffs.
The White Hawks will host the section semifinal game on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Thaler Arena at 7 p.m. vs. an opponent to be determined.