The Icebergs girls hockey team made a run to the sectionals last year and plans to use that as a springboard for this season under the direction of new coach Zoe Kurth.
The co-op includes players from Stoughton, Oregon, Monona Grove, McFarland and Evansville and Deerfield.
Kurth takes over the reins of a team that went 7-14 and finished fifth in the Badger Conference with a 3-7 mark. Onalaska beat the Icebergs 6-2 in the sectionals last year.
Kurth is a Fairbanks, Alaska native who played hockey and soccer at Division III St. Norbert College. She was an All-American soccer player in 2013, and is now a physical education teacher at Monona Grove.
“I have high expectations for this season,” Kurth said. “I want this team to focus on work ethic in order to compete and be successful in the Badger Conference.”
One of the top players returning for the Icebergs is junior defenseman Hailie Hefel who was honorable mention all-conference last season.
Hefel scored three goals and had six assists.
The Icebergs also bring back offensive firepower in junior right wing Izzy Newton (11 goals and eight assists last season), senior center wing Aeryn Olson (seven goals and four assists), junior forward Sydney Schipper (five goals and five assists). The other returning players are seniors Kelsey Waldner (defenseman), Sophia Moccero (defenseman), and goaltenders Abby Seybold and Cora Zimmerman.
Seybold posted an .841 save percentage and averaged 19.6 saves per game last season. Zimmerman had a .831 save percentage and averaged 12.3 saves per game.
“Our defense is strong and will get the job done,” Kurth said. “These players know the game and play smart. I can tell they want to win this season, and they will work hard to put the puck in the back of the net and defend.”
Kurth said two players who could surprise this season are Stoughton sophomore Samantha Nelson and freshman goaltender Aven Gruner.
“Sam has improved from last year and has gained confidence in her abilities,” Kurth said. “I think she will step up this year. Aven truly has a passion for the game, and is always looking to get better during practice.”
Kurth expects the Rock County Fury and Sun Prairie/DeForest to be the top two teams in the conference this year.