Warroad's defenders quietly drive team to state's top seed
With Abby Chamernick, Cal Lindquist, Katierie Sandy and Katy Comstock anchoring the back end, the Warriors are aiming at their first state title since 2011.
WARROAD, Minn. — The Warroad girls hockey team has two of the state's top scorers in juniors Tayla Hendrickson and Kate Johnson, who have combined for 164 points in 27 games.
In net, the Warriors have Kendra Nordick, who this week was named one of five finalists for the Minnesota Senior Goalie of the Year award.
But quietly, it has been Warroad's rock-solid defenders who have been the engine driving the Warriors to a seventh-straight Minnesota Class A state tournament.
The top-seeded Warriors (23-3-1) are scheduled to play unseeded River Lakes in a quarterfinal game at 6 p.m. Wednesday in St. Paul's Xcel Energy Center.
While Warroad's high-scoring forwards and steady goaltender have garnered most of the attention this season, coach David Marvin says the top four blue liners have been a major key to the Warriors' success.
The group is anchored by junior Abby Chamernick, junior Cal Lindquist, junior Katierie Sandy and freshman Katy Comstock.
"They're playing so stingy," Marvin said. "They don't get talked about, but they've had an outstanding year. They're a great group and hopefully in a week, we can say something else about them."
Chamernick is the leader offensively. She has 10 goals and 36 points in 27 games, while quarterbacking the top power-play unit.
"She makes good decisions distributing the puck," Marvin said. "Defensively, she has a really good stick. She's really tough to play against."
Lindquist, who wears her late great grandfather Cal Marvin's No. 20, has five goals and 16 points.
"She's good positionally," Marvin said. "She's a good skater, a good passer. They're all really good at making first passes, and you know how important that is to get it out on the first try."
Sandy has two goals and 13 points this season.
"She's poised with the puck," Marvin said. "She's really good positionally. I don't have a real 'stud' in the group like Vivian Jungels, but they've all played so well and they're pretty darn good at everything."
Comstock is the youngest of the group. Her grandfather, Blane, played goalie for the U.S. in the 1976 Olympic Games. Her cousin, Wyatt Kaiser, is a Chicago Blackhawks draft pick and a sophomore at Minnesota Duluth. Another cousin, Maddie Kaiser, plays at Holy Family and is committed to Minnesota.
"She's smart beyond her years," Marvin said. "She has those hockey genetics. She's a tremendous skater. She might be one of the smaller players in the state, but nobody can beat her one-on-one. She's such a great skater and pivots so well."
The defenders have helped the Warriors produce staggering statistics this season.
Warroad has outscored its opponents 152-29. The Warriors have averaged winning by just over 4.5 goals per game.
Warroad enters the state tournament having allowed just four goals in the last seven games.
"Obviously, we've got the scoring everyone talks about with Kate and Talya," Marvin said. "Kendra is one of five finalists for Ms. Goalie. She deserves it. But I like the way our 'D' are playing. You can't even remember the last time you were worried about them."
Coach: David Marvin.
Seed: No. 1.
Quarterfinal game: Warroad vs. River Lakes, 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Site: Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul.
State championships: 2010, 2011.
Scoring leaders: Jr. Talya Hendrickson 32 goals, 51 assists, 83 points, jr. Kate Johnson 45-36—81, jr. Lila Lanctot 18-13—31, jr. Abbey Reule 7-23—30, sr. Madison Lavergne 13-12—25, soph. Maddie Skogman 5-19—24
Top defenders: Jr. Abby Chamernick 10-26—36, fr. Katy Comstock 0-19—19, jr. Cal Lindquist 5-11—16, jr, Katierie Sandy 2-11—13
Top goaltender: Sr. Kendra Nordick 18-3-1, 1.08 goals-against average, .939 save percentage.
Coach Marvin says: "(Getting to state) is quite a reward for how hard the team works. Maybe every coach will tell you that, but our kids train year round. They're really dedicated off the ice, too. Now, we've got to go down there and put some games together. We've got to go down there and continue to play well. It's exciting to get there, but it's not like we've never been there. It's like, 'OK, that was a big step. But we've got more to do.'"