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2013-14 Winter Preview: Experienced Woodbury girls hockey team looks for some SEC respect

Woodbury senior goalie Kaelan Geisser is back between the pipes for the Royals this season. (Bulletin file photo)

Winning has not been a common experience for Woodbury Royals girls hockey in recent years, but an experienced crew may change that.

“These girls are ready to be successful,” Royals coach Chris Lepper said. “I think they know there’s a lot of potential with this team.”

With a 2-2 record early in the season, they have shown early signs of such promise with a couple of road wins at Henry Sibley and Moorhead during the first two weeks of the season. Their losses came against Cretin-Derham Hall and East Grand Forks.

“First, we need to out-work our opponents, and we need to stay disciplined in our systems and stay out of the penalty box,” Lepper said. “We need to get on the same page where everyone is moving in unison, and everyone understands each other’s roles and responsibilities on the team.”

Senior defender Sarah Wahlin leads the team in points with four through the first couple weeks of play. Wahlin, a team captain, also gives her team strong defensive play.

“She really helps set up other players on the team to put others in scoring position,” Lepper said.

Junior forward Ashley Krinke plays on the same line with Wahlin at gives them some offensive punch too when they’re on the ice.

“They complement each other well when they’re out there,” Lepper said.

Kayla Falconer, also a junior forward, has been finding the net with a team-leading three goals for the first two weeks. She recorded two of them in their wins.

“Kayla just has a nose of where to put the puck,” Royals coach Chris Lepper said. “She sees the opening and takes very quality chances for shots and puts herself in a position where she can use her scoring abilities.”

Senior goalie Kaelen Geisser has held teams to a goal in each win. She has a 92-percent save percentage in goal.

“She’s playing phenomenal, putting herself in the net at the right angles, covering the puck,” Lepper said.

Junior forward Erin Goodell also leads the team with three goals already. She sparked the team with a pair of goals in the win over Sibley.

“Erin’s a gal who is just a hard-working player who never stops,” Lepper said. “She keeps her feet moving.”

Senior defenders Libby Majrele and Mandy McAlpine play strong and physical on defense, and they can also make plays with the puck. Junior forward Cass Morris can also help on the scoring end, and sophomore forward Livia Twhoig will also spark the offense.

“Livia Twhoig has a great shot,” Lepper said. “We’re looking for big things from her this year. She’s got good speed and awareness of situations.”

The Royals will be on the lookout particularly for Forest Lake, Park, East Ridge, Cretin and Stillwater in Suburban East Conference play. The Royals lost to East Ridge last season. They beat both Forest Lake and Park last year.

“It’s still early in the year, so we’re putting things together and growing as a team,” Lepper said. “We’re at a point where we are more successful because of how in-sync we are as a team.”

—Matthew Davis