Denfeld News

Jan. 28, 2009
Duluth News Tribune

Duluth's Stars use combined power to win five straight
By Jon Nowacki

As controversy continues over the Duluth school district’s plan to close Central High School, life goes on for one sport that combines athletes from all three public high schools: girls hockey.

For the past three years, members of the Duluth Northern Stars have put rivalries aside for the sake of the team, and the results have been good. This year is no different, as evidenced by Duluth’s 3-2 victory over Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall on Tuesday night at the DECC for the Northern Stars’ fifth straight victory.

“Our kids grew up playing together, so this whole combining thing is a non-issue,” said Amber Fryklund, who coaches Duluth with former UMD men’s hockey assistant Jim Knapp. “It’s nothing new. They get along great.”

Leading the way are six-year staples Laura Bellamy (Denfeld) and Gina Dodge (East).

Bellamy finished with 33 saves while Dodge had two goals as the Northern Stars (16-3-3) got just enough offense to beat the speedy Mirage (16-5-1), who outshot them 35-15 and 15-4 after the first period to take a 1-0 lead.

Just when it looked as if PHM might roll to victory, Duluth’s Tyra Kerr scored on the power play 56 seconds into the second period as momentum shifted in what could be a Section 7AA playoff primer.

“That penalty kind of threw us into a defensive shell, and we didn’t get out of it until the period was almost over,” Mirage coach Glen Gilderman said. “We’d love to see them again, but it’s a really strong, wide open section, so you never know.”

Dodge put Duluth ahead 2-1 at 10:22 by putting in a rebound, and she scored again 2 minutes later with a backhanded shot on the power play. Julia Gilbert trimmed the lead to 3-2 later in the period, but the high-scoring Mirage would get no closer as Bellamy was strong in the third period, stopping 13 shots.

Dodge said she wasn’t surprised by Bellamy’s performance.

Bellamy has committed to playing college hockey at Harvard and Dodge at Minnesota Duluth. The two have known each other since the seventh grade, when Bellamy already was starting in net for Denfeld-Central and Dodge was part of the forward rotation.

“It was a little scary being 12 or 13 years old playing with 18 year olds, but in these kind of games, we’ve got experience now,” Bellamy said.

Bellamy said the Northern Stars have helped girls from different schools get to know each other.

After two years with Denfeld-Central, Dodge, who went to middle school at Ordean, attended East in the ninth grade. She played for the Greyhounds for a season before Duluth went to one team the following year because of a numbers shortage.

“It was pretty fun my freshman year because their entire team [Denfeld-Central] hated me, but it’s all good now,” Dodge said, laughing.

Proctor-Hermantown-Marshall ..... 1-1-0—2
Duluth ........................................... 0-3-0—3

First period — 1. PHM, Bekah Norton (Hannah Buchite), 10:44.
Second period — 2. D, Tyra Kerr (Linnea Chruscielski), :56 (pp); 3. D, Gina Dodge (Chruscielski), 10:22; 4. D, Dodge (Stephanie Lenz), 12:30 (pp); 5. PHM, Julia Gilbert, 13:58.
Saves — Anja Morris, PHM, 12; Laura Bellamy, D, 33.

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