There are enough pieces in place to make Thief River Falls a serious contender again this winter in Section 8A girls high school hockey.
The Prowlers’ reign as state champions ended after one year when they lost to Warroad 3-1 in the 2016 section finals, but a number of front line players return to a program that has enjoyed three consecutive 20-win seasons and five straight years with 19 or more victories.
Nine Thief River Falls scorers reached double figures in points last winter and six of them are back. That list includes senior forward Kora Torkelson with 33 points (19 goals, 14 assists); junior forward Tessa Jorde 25 (12-13); senior forward Madison Poole 23 (12-11); senior defenseman Callie Fagertrom 19 (7-12); junior forward Jaimee Nelson 18 (9-9); and senior defenseman Ava Marolt 16 (7-9).
Fagerstrom and Marolt head a defense anchored by senior goalie Mariah Nelson, who played in every game last year when she finished with a 1.58 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
Other seniors in the program include forwards Claire Mattson and Erin Kraemer, along with defensemen Hannah Enge and Annah Harder.
Only other juniors on the roster are forward Grace Bergland and defenseman Erin Retka.
Sophomores on hand include forwards Dakota Klosterman and Hannah Magnusson; defenseman Marryn Dalager; and goalie Faith Porter.
Freshman forward Khloe Lund skated with the varsity as an eighth grader. She is joined in this year’s ninth grade class by forwards Bella Nelson, Katie Nelson and Mady Anderson, plus defensemen Allie Pasch, Ava Sturgeon and Lexi Huot.
Whitney Restemayer is beginning her third year as the Prowlers’ head coach.
Thief River Falls opened the schedule with a Tuesday, Nov. 15, game against Detroit Lakes at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.
Tuesday, Nov. 15 – Detroit Lakes, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Nov. 17 – at Bemidji, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Nov. 19 – Moorhead, 3 p.m.; Tuesday, Nov. 22 – at Crookston, 7:30 p.m.; Friday/Saturday, Nov. 25/26 – TRF REA Classic; Tuesday, Nov. 29 – at Roseau, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 1 – Park Rapids Area, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 3 – The Blake School, 1 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 6 – at East Grand Forks, 7 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 9 – at Detroit Lakes, 7:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 13 – Warroad, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Dec. 16 – Brainerd, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Dec. 22 – Bemidji, 7:30 p.m.; Monday/ Wednesday, Dec. 26/28 – Blaine Schwan’s Cup Invitational; Thursday, Jan. 12 – East Grand Forks, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 14 – Duluth Marshall, 3 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 17 – at Warroad, 7:30 p.m.; Monday, Jan. 23 – Crookston, 730 p.m.; Friday, Jan. 27 – at St. Cloud Icebreakers, 5:30 p.m.; Saturday, Jan. 28 – at Sartell/Sauk Rapids-Rice, 2 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 31 – Roseau, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 3 – at Fergus Falls, 7:30 p.m.