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Mankato East is hungry for more after memorable '21-'22 season, state tournament appearance

With no seniors on the roster this past season, Mankato East girls hockey is looking to make another deep run this upcoming year.

Mankato East
Mankato East girls hockey warms up before their game against Orono at the 2022 Minnesota state tournament.
Sydney Wolf / The Rink Live

MANKATO, Minn. — The Mankato East community has had a year full of memories. With both the boys and girls hockey programs making state tournament appearances and the city hosting Hockey Day Minnesota, it'll be hard to top those experiences.

The Cougars went 22-7 this past season and were lead in points by junior McKenzie Keller (37 goals, 24 assists).

"She's gritty and she's not afraid to go into corners ... even at the end of a shift she's going to give you 120 percent," said head coach Amber Prange.

Keller is one of a handful of juniors who are looking to come back and make an even bigger impact next year for their senior season.

The team has no graduating seniors, so the entire squad should be returning to make another deep run this coming winter.

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Forward Kailey Newton and defender Emmy Schulz are two other rising seniors to keep your eye on, according to Prange.

Goaltender Anna Rader is also a part of that class. She posted a .924 save percentage with four shutouts this past season in goal and "she's not afraid to be aggressive".

Another player who has been a large part of the Cougars' success is sophomore Jess Eykyn (29 goals, 23 assists).

"She's an athlete ... she's just a competitor," Prange said.

Eykyn played on the lacrosse team for the first time this spring and earned an all-conference honorable mention. She also plays on the school's football team in the fall.

Even though the older players will likely lead the way, Brielle Newton, Ava Tibodeau, Sydney Wang and Ashley Fischer make up a strong eighth and ninth grade class that are looking to contribute even more this next year.

With the team returning likely every player, the Cougars are hopeful for the opportunities that next season will bring, but know that other schools in the area such as Luverne, New Ulm, Northfield, and Owatonna are all going to make big pushes as well.

"This past year is going to be really hard to one-up," said Prange of the season, between the team's success and the memories that Hockey Day Minnesota brought to the community.

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For more on the team's state tournament experience, details on who to keep an eye on next season, and expectations for next season, make sure to watch the full interview with coach Prange below.

MORE FROM SYDNEY WOLF
Over a hundred girls competed at the National Girls 16/17 Development Camp, but only 13 advanced on to the U-18 Select Camp.

Related Topics: GIRLS HOCKEY
Sydney Wolf is a reporter for The Rink Live, primarily covering youth hockey. She joined the team in November of 2021 and graduated from St. Cloud State University with a B.S. in Mass Communications and a minor in Writing and Rhetoric Studies and was a part of the University Honors Program.
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