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The skating wounded: SHS hockey teams limp into the playoffs

From top left, Superior’s Aaron Miller, Daniel Burger and Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate watch the Spartans game with assistant coach Geoff Torzewski up in the press box. All three Spartans were hurt and not playing during the Spartans game with Duluth East. (Jed Carlson/

The boys and girls hockey teams at Superior High School are literally limping into the WIAA playoffs, which kick off Thursday night with the Spartan boys hosting Menomonie and the girls playing at Siren.

The SHS boys take a record of 11-12-1 into the Menomonie game, which begins at 7 p.m. at Wessman Arena. The girls are 10-13 and play the Blizzard at 7 p.m. in Siren.

The Spartan boys wrapped up their regular season with a 7-0 loss to Duluth East Thursday at home. They played without leading scorer Aaron Miller (27 goals, 27 assists), who was hurt late in last week’s overtime tie at Hermantown. He was joined in the press box by Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate and Daniel Burger.

Wakefield-Zubiate, last year’s second-leading scorer, has missed the entire season with a football injury, while Burger, the center on the second line, will miss the rest of the season after breaking his collarbone in the win over Virginia. Burger also missed a number of games earlier in the season with a broken thumb.

To top that off, SHS coach Jason Kalin recently underwent shoulder surgery and is coaching with his right arm in a sling.

But, before you start feeling sorry for the boys, here come the girls, who have had so many injuries that they’ve been playing most of the season with just 10 skaters (six forwards and four on defense).

The SHS girls also lost freshman goaltender Missy Walkowiak, leaving them with just one goaltender, senior Justine Stenberg.

SHS boys

For just the fourth time since the seeding process began, the SHS boys were not given the No. 1 or 2 seed for the playoffs. Instead, the Spartans were given the No. 4 seed, which means they will have to beat Menomonie and then win two games on the road for a berth in the state tournament.

Since getting the No. 4 seed, Superior defeated Cloquet in overtime and skated to an overtime tie with Hermantown (before losing to East).

“Not getting the No. 1 or 2 seed made us play better, and now we have to prove to our section that we didn’t deserve the No. 4 seed,” Miller said. “We’re definitely not going to overlook Menomonie — we know we have to take it one game at a time — but it would be nice to get to play against at Hudson.

“All three lines are playing good right now, and if we’re healthy it’s hard to stop us.”

During the season the Spartans defeated Menomonie 10-0 and lost at Hudson 4-1 on Feb. 1.

“Hudson capitalized on their chances,” Miller said. “They’re basically a defensive team that packs it in in their d-zone and tries to get odd-man rushes every now and then.”

SPARTAN SPIN: SHS goaltender Paxton Paine stopped 28 shots in the loss to East, which got 11 saves from Gunnar Howg. … Seniors honored Thursday were Miller, Paine, Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate, Noah Peterson, Daniel Mikel, William Bednarek and Daniel Seipke. ... Tickets for Thursday’s game with Menomonie will on sale at 6 p.m. Tickets are $4 for children, students and adults and $1 for children under 6 years of age. This is a WIAA event so no passes will be accepted.

Duluth East     1              3              4              —           7

Superior           0              0              0              —           0

First Period: 1. DE, Mayson Rust (Ash Altman, Nathaniel Benson), 4:19.

Second Period: 2. DE, Jack Kolar (Nick Altman, Phil Beaulieu), 5:06 (pp). 3. DE, Kolar (Altman, Brian Bunten), 13:46. 4. DE, Joey Marinac (Benson), 15:10.

Third Period: 5. DE, Altman, :39. 6. DE, Beaulieu, 5:36 (pp). 7. DE, Altman (Bunten, Alex Trapp), 6:24 (pp).

Saves: Gunnar Howg, DE 3-6-2—11. Paxton Paine, SHS 10-9-9—28.

SHS girls

The Spartan girls wrapped up their season with a 7-4 loss at Hudson Friday and an 8-5 win over New Richmond (Western Wisconsin) on Senior Day Saturday at the Superior Ice Arena.

Seniors honored Saturday included: Justine Stenberg, Tina Lurndal, Kali Krivinchuk, Paige Harker, Anna Lurndal, Ari Jago and Rachel Taylor.

In Saturday’s victory, Emma Peterson scored three goals; Samantha Young scored twice; Krivinchuk, Taylor and Jordan Thompson each scored once; and Stenberg finished with 23 saves.

Against Hudson, Young scored twice, Tina Lurndal Young scored once and Stenberg stopped 20 shots.

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior is 0-2 against Siren this year, losing 5-4 and 6-2. … Peterson leads Superior with 37 goals and 15 assists for 52 points. Young is next with 14 goals and 14 assists for 28 points. Jago has 17 points (5-12), Moss (10-6) and Thompson (7-9) both have 16 points, and Amanda Hinaus (2-13) has 15 points.

Superior           0              2              2              —           4

Hudson             4              2              1              —           7

First period — 1. H, Julia Pettee (Sydney Squires), 1:23; 2. H, Ali Takkunen (Paige Johnson), 5:39; 3. H, Pettee (Squires), 6:22; 4. H, Johnson (Squires), 14:51 (pp).

Second period — 5. H, Julia Douglas (Sara Iacobello, McKenna Nunn), 4:35 (pp); 6. S, Tina Lurndal (Jordyn Thompson), 8:37; 7. S, Samantha Young, 9:10; 8. H, Johnson (Iacobello), 11:17.

Third period — 9. S, Young, 2:15; 10. H, Iacobello (Takkunen), 5:10 (pp); 11. S, Devyn Moss (Emma Peterson), 10:04.

Saves — Nali Mullan, H, 36; Justine Stenberg, S, 20.

Western Wis.  2              1              2              —           5

Superior           4              2              2              —           8

First period — 1. WW, Cassie Gravelle, 1:49; 2. S, Emma Peterson (Tina Lurndal), 12:02; 3. S, Kali Krivinchuk (Devyn Moss, Ari Jago), 13:03; 4. S, Samantha Young (Rachel Taylor, Peterson), 14:23; 5. S, Peterson (Young, Amanda Hinaus), 14:38; 6. WW, Gravelle, 15:37.

Second period — 7. WW, Kaylee Bebeau (Shawnee Gremore), 3:54; 8. S, Taylor (Peterson, Jago), 4:42; 9. S, Jordyn Thompson (Jago), 11:03.

Third period — 10. WW, Meghan Wolner, 0:38; 11. S, Peterson (Anna Lurndal), 5:42; 12. WW, Brie Larkowski (Emma Lepper), 11:05; 13. S, Young (Jago, Peterson), 13:23 (pp).

Saves — Tina Montpetit, WW, 38; Justine Stenberg, S, 23.