PREP GIRLS HOCKEY: Sophomore saves semifinal for Mirage

Abby Miner stood quietly along the bench as the seconds ticked away Saturday afternoon in the Section 7AA girls hockey semifinals. Just when it appeared Miner might not play, Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall coach Glen Gilderman called on her, and Min...

Abby Miner stood quietly along the bench as the seconds ticked away Saturday afternoon in the Section 7AA girls hockey semifinals.

Just when it appeared Miner might not play, Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall coach Glen Gilderman called on her, and Miner delivered.

Miner's goal at 8:56 in the third period lifted the Mirage to a 4-3 victory before about 800 spectators at Heritage Arena.

PHM (20-6-1) will play Cloquet-Esko-Carlton (17-9-1) in the Section 7AA final at 7:45 p.m. Thursday at Heritage Arena, with the Mirage aiming for their first state tournament and the Lumberjacks going for their fifth.

"I'm just really excited about an opportunity to go to state," said Miner, who is in her first year with the Mirage after playing with the Duluth Icebreakers last season. "I actually play defense, but coach put me in at forward. I couldn't really argue with him. I just go in and play, whenever they need me."


The Mirage needed her on Saturday.

Duluth (19-5-3), which was outshot 13-3 in the first period, took a 3-1 lead in the second after scoring two goals in a nine-second span to send PHM reeling.

The game appeared as if it was going to be a repeat of the teams' regular-season meeting in January, which the Northern Stars won 3-2 despite being outshot 35-15.

"That first game definitely crossed my mind," said Gilderman, a former goalie who made sure to wear a different tie for the rematch. "Last time we played them, the whole third period, everything just seemed to be slipping away, but this time we just stuck together and got through it."

Duluth senior Laura Bellamy made 33 saves in the first meeting, but the Northern Stars started sophomore Paige Turner on Saturday.

Turner played well, with 24 saves, but the game turned late in the second period on Sam Downey's wicked slap shot from the left circle that went into the top-right corner of the net just one minute before the intermission.

"We knew it would be a tough game with PHM. It always is," said Amber Fryklund, who co-coaches the Northern Stars with Jim Knapp. "We didn't play so hot in the first period, but I thought the second was ours. Then they got that goal that gave them momentum.

"We came out flat in the third and didn't move our feet and they did. They got the shots and won the battles."


The Mirage's Emma Stauber tied the game with her goal at 3:59 in the third.

"You keep working hard, and good things happen," Gilderman said.

The Miner scored the game-winner, which came moments after she stole the puck behind the net and flipped it. It went in off Turner's back.

"We had nobody in front of the net, so I just threw it up at [Turner], and it went in," Miner said. "I was so surprised, I had to double-check that it went in before I celebrated."

It was Miner's only shift of the game.

"Abby is efficient," Gilderman said, laughing. "Very efficient."

Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall 1-1-2--4

Duluth 0-3-0--3


First period -- 1. PHM, Jami Weiss (Julia Gilbert, Sam Downey), 5:08.

Second period -- 2. D, Gina Dodge (Tyra Kerr), 6:28 (pp); 3. D, Dodge, 14:23; 4. D, Samantha Buckley (Abby Atol), 14:32; 5. PHM, Downey (Weiss, Gilbert), 16:00.

Third period -- 6. PHM, Emma Stauber (Gilbert, Nichole Mathews), 5:59; 7, PHM, Abby Miner, 8:04.

Saves -- Anja Morris, PHM, 16; Paige Turner, D, 24.

Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 3, Grand Rapids-Greenway 2

The Lumberjacks got 34 saves from goalie Nicole Lund and three unassisted goals to stun the top-seeded Lightning in the first semifinal on Saturday at Heritage Arena.

Jessie Ryan and Kelly Carlson put the Lumberjacks up 2-0 through the first period before Grand Rapids-Greenway's Molly Arola finally got one past Lund at 5:25 in the third. Ryan's second goal five minutes later proved to be the game-winner as the Lumberjacks, who played the Thunderhawks tough in two regular season meetings, proved their earlier performances weren't a fluke.

Dana Gallop had a goal and an assist and Jessica Havel stopped 24 shots for two-time defending section champion Grand Rapids-Greenway (25-4-2), which finished second at the state tournament last year.



Grand Rapids-Greenway...........0-0-2--2

First period -- 1. CEC, Jessie Ryan, 6:10; 2. CEC, Kelly Carlson, 15:27.

Second period -- No scoring.

Third period -- 3. GRG, Molly Arola (Dana Gallop), 5:25; 4. CEC, Ryan, 10:26; 5. GRG, Gallop (Johannah Kohorst), 15:46.

Saves -- Nicole Lund, CEC, 34; Jessica Havel, GRG, 24.

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 or (218) 380-7027. Follow him on Twitter @TacoJon1.
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