Class A Janjet Alternative All-Tournament
Monday, March 13, 2023
Though the Girls 2023 Class A All-Tournament Team was made up of many deserving hockey players, there were a few additional names that stood out to us that we think deserve some recognition. Our Janjet Alternative All-Tournament Team consists of the best Class A players at state who were not on the official MSHSL All-Tournament Team.
Chosen for their outstanding tournament play, the Class A Janjet All-Tournament Team consists of six forwards, four defensemen, and two goalies.
(For the Class AA JanJet All-Tournament Team click here.)
Let's meet your 2023 Class A Janjet Alternative All-Tournament Team!
Bailey Vesper - Sophomore, South St. Paul (22-31-53)
Vesper had an incredible third-place game for the Packers. The sophomore had a hat trick in the Packers’ 3-2 win against the very well respected Proctor/Hermantown Mirage. Vesper also assisted on the lone goal against Warroad in a 4-1 semifinal loss.
Jessica Eykyn - Junior, Mankato East (21-16-36)
The skilled duo of Jess Eykyn and Kenzie Keller displayed pure talent for the Cougars during the state tournament. In her last five games, the junior had a minimum of one point in each game. Jess had five points during the tournament, with two goals and three assists. Eykyn has made a name for herself this past season and is one of the biggest hidden gems in Class 1A.
Kamryn Van Batavia (MSU-Mankato) - Senior, Luverne (61-20-81)
Superstar Kamryn Van Bativia scored two of the three goals the Cardinals had over the weekend. Kamryn has been recognized statewide for her offensive skill and she ended her five-season career as the third all-time leading scorer in girls state history (226-146-412).
Maddie Hulter (UW-Eau Claire) - Senior, Fergus Falls (32-33-65)
Fergus Falls senior forward Maddie Hulter played in her first state tournament for Fergus Falls as an eighth grader in 2019. Photo by Melissa Babolian
Hulter had an amazing state tournament. She had four points in three games for the Otters, including two goals against Albert Lea in a 4-2 win. Despite a narrow 4-3 loss to Mankato East in the Consolation Final, Hulter made quite the impression during her time at state this year.
Maddy Kimbrel - Freshman, Orono (21-26-47)
Orono’s Maddie Kimbrel had herself a solid state tournament. The freshman had a game-winner against Proctor/Hermantown, as well as two goals and one assist in a victory over Luverne. Kimbrel is a solid forward with excellent skating and an amazing shot. Kimbrel is the youngest player on this list, I expect her to make quite a name for herself in the coming years.
Reese Heitzman - Senior, Proctor/Hermantown (21-12-33)
The Senior had three goals during her time at the state tournament, along with one assist. Heitzman had a solid weekend and finished the season as the second leading scorer for the Mirage.
Lexi Kirkeby (Assumption) - Senior, Warroad (9-18-27)
Kirkeby had three assists in a quarterfinal win over Albert Lea, as well as a goal against South St. Paul. Kirkeby was absolutely dominant on the blue line and in the offensive zone.
Mae Grandy - Senior, Orono (4-16-20)
Mae Grandy had an impressive first game of the tournament against the Luverne Cardinals. Grandy had a goal and an assist and had a very solid weekend overall. Grandy showed major strength on the blue line and in the defensive zone and had a very good performance against Proctor/Hermantown in the semifinals.
Mika Cichosz - Sophomore, Albert Lea (31-12-43)
Though the Tigers didn’t have the outcome they wanted, you have to give them a lot of props for the season they had. Cichosz assisted on the lone goal against Warroad and scored the Tigers’ other goal of the weekend against Fergus Falls in a 4-1 loss. She finished the season as the team’s leading scorer.
Trinity Jackson - Senior, Mankato East (7-10-17)
The Cougars’ Trinity Jackson earned a goal in East’s 4-3 win against Fergus Falls in the Consolation Championship. Jackson displayed solid strength on the blue line for the Cougars all season.
Anna Rader (River Falls) - Senior, Mankato East
The Herb Brooks Character Award winner had a stellar tournament. Rader faced 102 shots throughout the state tournament and allowed 10 goals. Rader finished the state tournament with a .902 SV% and helped her team to the Consolation Championship.
Mallory Von Tersch - Senior, Luverne
Mallory Von Tersch and the Luverne Cardinals made yet again another state tournament appearance. Mallory had 33 saves against the Orono Spartans in their first game. On the season, Von Tersch was 20-8-0 with a .904 SV% and a 1.78 GAA (read more about Von Tersch below).
Luverne’s Molly Von Tersch: From goal line to blueline and back
Mallory Von Tersch (right) and the Luverne Cardinals made it back for their fourth consecutive appearance at the state tournament. Photo by Greg Hoogeveen
Luverne senior goaltender Molly Von Tersch made her fourth consecutive trip to the state tournament, yet this was only her third time appearing as a goaltender. When Mallory was asked to step out on the ice as a defenseman rather than play goalie last season, Mallory embraced the change in order to help the team.
Last year, a need for defensemen grew for the Cardinals. Von Tersch had skated out for fun during her sophomore year, so when she was asked to play defense she was excited about a new challenge.
“Mallory stepped up and made a great sacrifice for our team.” said head coach Tony Sandbulte. Not only did she play defense, but Mallory had 17 points, including a game-winning power play assist in the section semifinals and two assists during the state tournament.
“It definitely wasn’t easy,” Mallory explained. “I definitely see the ice from a different view now, as a goalie.” Mallory applauded her forwards. “My forwards, they’re pretty good.” she said with a laugh.
Fast-forward to the 2023 season and Mallory was back in goal. Mallory helped lead her team to the state tournament for a fourth consecutive year. Mallory has caught the eye of college programs across the state. “It goes to show when you're doing what's best for the team, things will work out.” explains Sandbulte.
Despite a three and a half-hour drive, the Luverne community had a presence at the Xcel. Youth players in Luverne jerseys were seen running around the Xcel, while the Cardinals were on the ice. The hockey community is strong in Luverne, which has been proven over the past several years.
Mallory explains how the community is just as supportive on the ice, as it is off the ice. “The community that we have in a small town, instead of battling each other for a spot,” she explains, “It’s kind of like: ‘Well, here’s this open spot and I’m gonna help my teammate be better’ because she’s going to have to fill the role this year because nobody else is going to. Everyone is making each other better, no matter if you’re 13 or 18.”
When asked what he will miss about Mallory, coach Sandbulte said one peculiar thing: “Something I'll miss about Mallory is her honk. When she coughs it sounds like there's a goose on the ice. It's pretty fun and we've had a good time with it.”
With her final season now complete, Von Tersch can look back with appreciation for how the Luverne program has continued to grow. “You know, you start playing in eighth grade and see the evolution. There were seniors that I looked up to and now there’s eighth graders who are looking up to me. It’s a cool thing how everyone fills their role.”
Lauren McQuillan can be reached at email@example.com
|8.||Centennial / SLP||7.800|
|10.||Benilde - St. Margaret's||7.704|
|3.||South St. Paul||7.533|
|5.||Proctor / Hermantown||7.433|
|6.||Mound Westonka / SWC||7.111|