Girls’ Hockey: Polars looking for success with returning experience up front

North High sophomore goalie Marit Larson (33) prepares to make the save in action against Maple Grove at home Dec. 5. (Linda Baumiester/Review)

The North Polars take to the ice this early season with some seasoned veterans up front on their lines.

Coach Allie Thunstrom has returned for a second year to her alma mater to take the reins of a team on which she once skated as a star.

Thunstrom says the Polars have experience, as well as a variety of skill sets, on their side.

“Our varsity is comprised mostly of juniors and seniors; most of them have been with the team since they were eighth graders,” she said. “Additionally, the kids are also athletic. Many of our players are successful in more than one sport and understand the hard work it takes to do well.”

If there is a downside to North girls hockey that could well be a deterrent, it is the number of players lost last spring to graduation. Players no longer around Polar Arena include Michelle Czech, Tori Drake, Jessica Folkerts, Taylor Pogreba, Kari Strandberg and Lindsay Warner.

Coach Thunstrom admitted, “We lost a good chunk of our varsity roster after last season. We are short on numbers so depth is a definite weakness right now.

“We do, however, have a good group of younger players that will develop into high quality varsity players over the next few years.”

Leading the Polars into the puck wars this season is a trio of tri-captains in the persons of seniors Erin Jungmann, Katelyn Stepaniak and Madison Strom.

Jungmann and Stepaniak are up on the forward lines, while Strom skates back on defense.

Other seniors with the Polars include defenders Haley Schanks and Carli Langevin, and Abby Piechowski, a forward.  

The roster is completed by Hayley Blom and Abby Glaus, junior forwards, and sophomores Lily Langevin, a goalie who can fill in as forward, and Marit Larson, a goal tender.

Assisting coach Thunstrom will be Stacy Dey, Nate Peasley, Mac Blumel and Mike Thunstrom.

Around the Classic Suburban Conference, Thunstrom pointed a finger at Hill-Murray, South St. Paul and Tartan as the most likely to be battling for the top spot.

North, through the month of November, has already been involved in four tough non-conference decisions and is 1-3.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at

 The North 2013-2014 Girls’ Hockey Schedule:

• Nov. 12 (2-0) win over Park
• Nov. 14, (0-2) loss to Achiever Academy
• Nov. 22, (1-8) loss to Cretin-Derham Hall
• Nov. 30, (0-3) loss to Bloomington Jefferson
• Dec. 5, 8 p.m., Maple Grove at Polar Arena
• Dec. 7, 1:30 p.m. South St. Paul at Polar Arena
• Dec. 10, 7:30, Sibley at West St. Paul Arena
• Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., River Falls at Polar Arena
• Dec. 13, 7:30 p.m., Hill-Murray at Polar Arena
• Dec. 17, 7:30 p.m., Tartan at Tartan Arena
• Dec. 21, 2 p.m., Warroad at Polar Arena;
• Dec. 28, TBD, Tournament at Coon Rapids Arena
• Jan. 3, 8 p.m., Mahtomedi at Polar Arena
• Jan. 4, 1 p.m., at Dodge County
• Jan. 6, 8 p.m., Spring Lake Park at Polar Arena
• Jan. 7, 7:30 p.m., Simley at Polar Arena
• Jan. 10, 7 p.m., South St. Paul at Wakota Arena
• Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m., Sibley at Polar Arena
• Jan. 17, 7:30 p.m., Hill-Murray at Aldrich Arena
• Jan. 21, 7:30 p.m., Tartan at Polar Arena;
• Jan. 25, 3 p.m., Grand Rapids at Polar Arena
• Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m., Simley at Veterans Memorial Arena; and Jan. 31, 7:30 p.m., Mahtomedi at St. Croix Arena.

The Section 4 AA playoffs begin Feb. 3 and run through Feb. 14.


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