Lady Avs roll out welcome mat for top Minnesota team
It’s going to be East vs. West this weekend at the Aspen Ice Garden.
Shattuck of St. Mary’s, one of the top junior girls Tier I hockey teams in the nation from Minnesota, will arrive Friday for a four-game series with Aspen’s own junior girls Tier I team, which is also among the nation’s top 10 junior girls teams.
The action between the two teams kicks off Friday night at the Ice Garden as the teams face off at 10:30 p.m. The two teams play again Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and will play twice Sunday (7:15 and 11:30 a.m.).
“This will be the first time that the Aspen community will be able to see what top-flight girls hockey is truly all about,” Aspen coach Wily Manering said. “This is definitely one of the top three teams in the country right now.”
St. Mary’s is a Minnesota boys and girls prep school that is considered to be a hockey academy because it recruits players from all over the world to go to school and play hockey.
The Minnesota team plays a 60-plus game schedule every year all over the United States and Canada. Recently, St. Mary’s traveled to play Sweden’s women’s national team losing 8-2.
“This team plays the best,” Manering said. “They play a restless schedule and are very well coached – they eat, sleep and drink hockey.”
The two teams have faced each other three times in the past five months with St. Mary’s winning all three games, but an opportunistic Manering remains enthusiastic to see how his team will do this time around.
“I will be very disappointed if we don’t come out with at least one win,” he said. “We have them four times, that should give us time to match up with them.”
Manering continued by saying that “our hockey club can compete with any team in the country right now.”
“I hope that we go into this tournament doing the things that we did to compete from our other national tournaments – let’s repeat it,” he said. “If we start from scratch mentally, we’re going to be underdogs from the beginning, but it’s onward and upwards from here.”
Coach Manering gave a lot of credit to assistant coach Rob Hutton who he said “made this entire weekend possible with his relentless work habits.”
“It would be nice to make this the start of an annual event in Aspen and call it the Rob Hutton Invitational,” he said. “Without him, there probably wouldn’t be a girls team – he has a lot to do with all of our success.”
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