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Top-seeded Warroad looks to take home state hockey title

WARROAD, Minn.--David Marvin received a big pre-Christmas surprise. Shortly before the holidays, former Grand Forks all-state goaltender Quinn Kuntz transferred to Warroad. The junior has made a strong team even stronger as Warroad takes a 22-3-2...

Bismarck's Britta Curl presures Grand Forks goalie Quinn Kuntz Saturday, Feb.25, 2017, during the North Dakota state hockey tournament championship game at Scheels Arena.David Samson / The Forum
Quinn Kuntz makes a save for the Grand Forks KnightRiders at last year's North Dakota state girls hockey tournament. Kuntz now plays for Warroad and leads Minnesota in save percentage and goals-against average. Photo by Dave Samson/Forum News Service.

WARROAD, Minn.-David Marvin received a big pre-Christmas surprise.

Shortly before the holidays, former Grand Forks all-state goaltender Quinn Kuntz transferred to Warroad. The junior has made a strong team even stronger as Warroad takes a 22-3-2 record and the No. 1 seed into today's quarterfinals of the Class A state tournament.

Marvin said he was unaware Kuntz was transferring to Warroad. "Her family contacted our school and all the transfer paperwork was done with the school,'' Marvin, the Warroad coach, said. "I knew about her. But I lost track of her when she left Grand Forks. It was a surprise when she showed up.''

Kuntz transferred to a school in Rochester, N.Y., prior to this school year and played with a program that competed in tournaments across the country. Kuntz said she made the move to further her goal of playing college hockey. She wasn't counting on homesickness, however.

"Grand Forks is great,'' the junior said. "But that move was a step up. It seemed like I was ready to go.

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"But once I got there, I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. It was a great program, but it was far from home.''

North Dakota high school transfer rules wouldn't allow Kuntz to return to Grand Forks and play this season. Her family decided to move to Warroad, where it met the MSHL's family residence change criteria and she could play immediately.

Kuntz is 13-1 with the state's best goals-against average (0.64) and save percentage (.964).

"Our other goalies were doing fine,'' Marvin said. "But Quinn plays at another level. I think she's one of the best goalies in the state.

"The kids know if they make a mistake, she's got their back. She doesn't get rattled.''

Kuntz isn't the lone factor in the Warroad defense. Wisconsin commit Kaitlyn Kotlowski leads a defensive corps that includes Hannah Christian, Karlie Meeker, Tahra Johnson and C.J. Lanctot. All were regulars last season. "I think we're better there,'' Marvin said.

More balance

Warroad is making its third straight trip to the state tournament. It is a different team from the past two seasons, when sisters Mariah and Demi Gardner were dominant.

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Depth is the key to this offense. Geno Hendrickson (14 goals-53 assists) centers a line with Madi Oelkers (42-28) and Abbey Hardwick (11-25). Marlie Johnston (10-21) centers a line with Hannah Corneliusen (38-17) and Jules Teske (10-16).

"We don't have that really high-end game changer like we've had,'' Marvin said. "I don't know if we're as explosive, but we have more balance.

"With Madi on one line and Hannah on another, we have two good lines. If somebody shuts down one line, the other has come through.''

Warroad at a glance

Record-22-3-2, Section 8A champion.

Coach-David Marvin.

State tournament opener-No. 1 seeded Warroad, making its third straight trip to the Minnesota Class A state tournament, plays New Ulm (23-4-1) at 6 tonight at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Warroad scoring leaders (goals-assists--points)-Madison Oelkers 42-28--70; Geno Hendrickson 14-53--67; Hannah Corneliusen 38-17--55; Abbey Hardwick 11-25--36; Marlie Johnston 10-21--31; Kaitlyn Kotlowski 13-18--31; Karlie Meeker 5-21--26; Julianna Teske 10-16--26; Hannah Christian 7-15--22; McKenzie Oelkers 8-11--19; Adrianna Huerd 6-10--16.

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In goal-Quinn Kuntz (13-1-0 W-L-T, 0.64 GAA, .964 save %).

Related Topics: HOCKEYGIRLS HOCKEYWARROAD
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