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Mirage move forward as Marshall opts out

Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall girls hockey coach Glen Gilderman patted his chest following the Mirage's pulse-pounding 1-1 overtime tie against Grand Rapids-Greenway on Tuesday at Mars Lakeview Arena.

Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall girls hockey coach Glen Gilderman patted his chest following the Mirage's pulse-pounding 1-1 overtime tie against Grand Rapids-Greenway on Tuesday at Mars Lakeview Arena.

Gilderman, the only head coach PHM has ever known in its 14-year history, isn't normally one to let too much stress bother him, so he is focusing on the season, rather than recent news that Marshall wants out of the cooperative after this season because of financial reasons.

"We don't talk about it," Gilderman said. "I don't think it's fair to our Marshall players. I leave that to the athletic directors."

Marshall recently declared its intentions in letters to Proctor and Hermantown school administration, as well as the Minnesota State High School League.

The three schools each pay an equal share for the cooperative, and each school hosts a third of the practices and home games. Tuesday was the fourth and final regular season game at Mars Lakeview Arena, Marshall's home rink.

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Gilderman said athletic directors from the three schools may discuss the topic at a Lake Superior Conference meeting today, and he was hopeful a compromise could be reached.

"We'll just have to see," Gilderman said.

PHM has four Marshall players out of about 30 in its program, including three seniors and sophomore defender Ingrid Curwin. Marshall couldn't justify paying an equal share with so few students involved.

"I'm just glad I had the opportunity to be part of the Mirage all the way through," said PHM senior defender Emma Stauber, a Marshall senior. "I understand the financial end of it ... isn't that what everything's all about? But at the same time, I know there are some younger girls with a real passion for the game coming up through the ranks. They're not just going to quit. They'll have to find somewhere else to play, and that's too bad."

Stauber, a Minnesota Duluth recruit, displayed her booming slap shot in a defensive struggle where PHM goalie Anja Morris and GRG goalie Sydney Helmbrecht kept things close despite numerous scoring chances on both sides, with 20 and 24 saves respectively. These Section 7AA rivals were so close that the shots on goal and score were the same through each of the first two periods after the Lightning's Callie Anderson knotted it at 1-1 with an unassisted goal from the right circle at 12:44 in the second.

PHM (10-8-2) gained momentum on the power play in the third period but couldn't get anything past Helmbrecht. The Mirage were on the defensive much the overtime, needing their penalty kill to salvage the tie against the Lightning (10-7-3).

"What a game between two even teams. We had some great opportunities, but they had some great opportunities, too," Gilderman said. "That was one of the best girls hockey games I've seen in a long time."

Grand Rapids-Greenway co-coach Brad Hyduke agreed. The Lightning lost to Mirage in last year's Section 7AA semifinals, with PHM eventually advancing to its first state tournament.

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Hyduke said Grand Rapids pays for the majority for their cooperative, which he said was understandable given they have a larger enrollment, with more participation in the program.

"We're faced with some of those same issues, and I'm sure it's more difficult with a private school, where you don't know where your youth numbers are at, necessarily," Hyduke said.

Grand Rapids-Greenway 0-1-0-0--1

Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall 0-1-0-0--1

First period -- No scoring

Second period -- 1. PHM, Emy Albert (Alyssa Wargin, Abby Miner), 3:06 ; 2. GRG, Callie Anderson, 12:44.

Third period -- No scoring.

Overtime -- No scoring.

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Saves -- Anja Morris, PHM, 20; Sydney Helmbrecht, GR, 24.

Related Topics: HOCKEY
Jon Nowacki joined the News Tribune in August 1998 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Stephen, Minnesota, in the northwest corner of the state, where he was actively involved in school and sports and was a proud member of the Tigers’ 1992 state championship nine-man football team.

After graduating in 1993, Nowacki majored in print journalism at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, serving as editor of the college paper, “The Aquin,” and graduating with honors in December 1997. He worked with the Associated Press during the “tobacco trial” of 1998, leading to the industry’s historic $206 billion settlement, before moving to Duluth.

Nowacki started as a prep reporter for the News Tribune before moving onto the college ranks, with an emphasis on Minnesota Duluth football, including coverage of the Bulldogs’ NCAA Division II championships in 2008 and 2010.

Nowacki continues to focus on college sports while filling in as a backup on preps, especially at tournament time. He covers the Duluth Huskies baseball team and auto racing in the summer. When time allows, he also writes an offbeat and lighthearted food column entitled “The Taco Stand,” a reference to the “Taco Jon” nickname given to him by his older brother when he was a teenager that stuck with him through college. He has a teenage daughter, Emma.

Nowacki can be reached at jnowacki@duluthnews.com or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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