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Warroad's Hendrickson and Johnson bring dynamic chemistry into Minnesota girls postseason hockey tournament

In Warroad's 9-1 section semifinal win over Thief River Falls, Johnson recorded three goals and an assist alongside Hendrickson's two goals and assist.

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Warroad players surround goalie Kendra Nordick after defeating Thief River Falls Monday in the MN Section 8A girls tournament at the East Grand Forks Civic Center.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

EAST GRAND FORKS – Warroad — the top-ranked team in Minnesota state Class A girls hockey — has played at another level this season. A lot of that can be attributed to Talya Hendrickson and Kate Johnson, two of the state’s top scorers, but the group’s cohesiveness as a team stands out as it skates laps around their opponents in the offensive zone.

Warroad's 9-1 Section 8A semifinal win against Thief River Falls on Monday was no different, even if head coach David Marvin was not impressed with the effort. Johnson and Hendrickson both left their marks on the scoresheet, including a hat trick from Johnson, but the total fluidity in the forecheck and cycle showed how advanced the Warriors are throughout the entire lineup.

“We skate well and we move the puck well, but that can’t be it. You have to work hard, too,” Marvin said. “The secret to (Hendrickson and Johnson’s) success this year is they have been ready every night and they work extremely hard in the game. So when you work really hard and you’re as gifted as they are, good things happen.”

Even after the Prowlers matched Maddie Skogman’s opening score just seconds later, Warroad kept rolling right along with Johnson scoring her 42nd goal of the year shortly after a long possession in the offensive zone.

Johnson sits ninth in the state in goals while Hendrickson is first in assists with 41, leaving no question that the two are the dynamic duo that pushes leads the way. The pair also came into the playoffs ranked eighth and fifth in scoring with 74 and 76 points respectively.


They’re both juniors and have played together since they were eight, but Johnson has really connected with Hendrickson this year on the ice.

“It’s different not having my sister, but Kate is pretty much like a sister to me so I pretty much know where she is on the ice at all times anyway,” Hendrickson said.

Genevieve Hendrickson led Warroad in points last year with 64 and is now playing for Franklin Pierce University, where Talya is committed.

The two linemates this year almost mirror each other with Johnson putting up 41 goals and Hendrickson supplying 48 assists as the latter has a knack for finding the former in prime scoring areas.

However, Hendrickson is not afraid to show off her scoring touch. In the second period against Thief River Falls, she was able to cut to the slot and fire a puck over the shoulder of Isabelle Hamre that went bar down making it a 6-1 game.

“Kate was on her forehand side for the draw and if she didn’t win it we were going to have her tie up,” Hendrickson explained. “I just picked it up behind Kate and got around that girl and went bar down.”

Johnson was also able to do what she does best in a little bit of a unique fashion. All three of her goals against the Prowlers came from hard-working areas in the slot.

“It shows that not every goal needs to be fancy. A goal is a goal and it all counts towards a win,” Johnson said.


Leadership like that from Johnson is how the dominant mindset is able to sift its way to the rest of the lineup. For Marvin, being disappointed with a 9-1 playoff win is a unique position to be in but when excellence is expected, having the top players reciprocate that message is crucial.

“That’s why they have letters on their jerseys. They work hard, they’re skilled, they produce and that lifts everyone up,” he said.

Now for Hendrickson, Johnson and the Warriors, eyes are most certainly on a state tournament bid. It's not an unreasonable ask for a team that has stood at the top of the Class A rankings and is fighting for a regional championship.

Whether it is Section 8A or the MSHSL tournament, the 60 minute effort cannot dissipate.

“What you forget is that every other team plays hard, too. No matter who we play we know we’re going to have our hands full. And we know we need to be ready,” said Marvin.

The Warriors have played plenty of large programs in the regular season, so the scouting report has already started.

“We need to move quicker. Sometimes we start to get slow in our movements. With the better teams they are going to attack us right away,” Johnson said.

“They’re obviously going to be a lot better at their positioning, and everything else. I think we just need to come ready to play,” said Hendrickson.


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The puck flips over Thief River Falls' goalie Isabella Hamre as Warroad's Emerson Hardwick, background, Thief River Falls' Jayden Breiland, and Warroad's Sophie Johnson look on in the third period Monday.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Warroad 9,

Thief River Falls 1

First period - 1-0 WHS: Maddie Skogman (Abigail Chamernick, Sophie Johnson), 1-1 TRF: Julia Rude (Bella Amiot, Jenae Johnson), 2-1 WHS: Kate Johnson (Abbey Reule), 3-1 WHS: Lila Lancot (Kaiya Sandy) PP, 4-1 WHS: Lancot (Sandy, Madison Lavergne)

Second period - 5-1 WHS: Sandy (Katierie Sandy, Lancot), 6-1 WHS: Talya Hendrickson

Third period - 7-1 WHS: Johnson (Chamernick), 8-1 WHS: Johnson (Hendrickson, Cahlilah Lindquist), 9-1 WHS: Hendrickson (Johnson)

Goalie saves - WHS: Kendra Nordick 27, TRF: Isabella Hamre 45 saves

Digital Content Producer and Sports Reporter at the Grand Forks Herald since December of 2020. Maxwell can be contacted at mmarko@gfherald.com.
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