Youth Talent Leading the Way for Grand Rapids/Greenway Girls Hockey
The Lightning are 4-1 so far to start the season, led by freshman Mercury Bischoff who currently ranks top five in the state in goals and points. Grand Rapids/Greenway will be back in action on Tuesday night hosting Cloquet-Esko-Carlton
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. – Last season, a very young Grand Rapids/Greenway girls hockey team made it all the way to the section championship game. Now, this season the Lightning say they’ve gotten younger but they’re ready to prove they’re here to stay.
“We’re a young, good team that I think will do just fine,” freshman forward Mercury Bischoff said.
“That makes this group hungry and we knew coming back that we had both a great returning core and some kids that were going to step in,” head coach Brad Hyduke added.
The Lightning graduated a Ms. Hockey finalist in Claire Vekich but returned multiple players who played crucial minutes, including Mercury Bischoff, who ranked in the top 10 in the entire state in points last season as an eighth grader.
“I was kind of surprised to be one of the top players in points but a huge help was Claire and my teammates,” Bischoff said.
“Kalle Reed has stepped up to be a great center to replace that, is second on our team in scoring. And the other linemate on that is Molly Pierce is third in scoring. Just as a ninth grader, we’ve obviously seen her put up some numbers and she’s done that against some of our best competition we’ve had so far so it’s been fun to see her pick up where she left off and better yet that whole group take it to another level,” Hyduke added.
Now led by Bischoff and senior goaltender Makenzie Cole, the Lightning have suffered just one loss and have wins over White Bear Lake and Blaine.
“She’s allowed us to be in games and pull away when we needed to and get big saves down the stretch,” Hyduke said.
“It’s very comforting knowing you have people like that playing in front of you and my goalie Kenzie behind me is very assuring,” defenseman Jazzlyn Bischoff added.
While the schedule just gets harder, Grand Rapids/Greenway says they’re just scratching the surface with their potential.
“Finding a way to maybe be more intense from the start. We need to be more structured defensively and I think there’s some things we can clean up both in transition and in our own end,” Hyduke said.
And making that section title game run last year will just help this program moving forward as they’re hoping to make it back.
“Knowing what it feels like to be in that position, we definitely want to be there and again and I have a good feeling we’re going to be this year,” Jazzlyn Bischoff said.
Grand Rapids/Greenway will be back in action on Tuesday night hosting Cloquet-Esko-Carlton. Puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m.