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Western Wisconsin Stars see last of state's top scorer

Theresa Knutson is likely the most prolific scorer in Wisconsin girls hockey history.

This is her senior season and the Western Wisconsin Stars can’t wait to see Knutson in a college uniform. Because that means the Stars won’t have to see Knutson in an Onalaska uniform again.

Knutson has riddled the Stars throughout her four high school seasons. The Stars’ final scheduled game against Knutson and Onalaska came last Friday and Knutson left her mark, again, scoring five times as the Stars were beaten 8-0.

Knutson is believed to have the second-highest goal total in United States girls high school hockey history. Knutson is approaching 250 goals in her high school career. Minnesota hockey legend Natalie Darwitz is the only U.S. high school player with more goals, scoring 316 in her famed career. Darwitz went on to play for the University of Minnesota and to play on three United States Olympic teams.

When Knutson moved into second place in career goals and points, she passed another Minnesota legend, Krissy Wendell.

Knutson scored all three of Onalaska’s goals in the first period on Friday. She added goals in the second and third period and assisted on another of the Hilltoppers’ goals in the second period.

Stars coach Emily Dabrowski said it’s unfair to judge her team’s play by the score in this game.

“The girls actually played very well,” Dabrowski said. “In the first period we were in their end for good chunks of time.”

The Stars were playing without one of their two centers, senior Kaylee Bebeau. That led to a fair amount of lineup shuffling, with senior Emma Lepper moving into Bebeau’s role.

“Emma stepped in and did a lot for that line,” Dabrowski said.

But no matter what the Stars did, they couldn’t stop all of Knutson’s moves to the net. Dabrowski said if the Stars didn’t take the body in trying to stop Knutson, they had no chance of slowing her down. Many times, Knutson dodged Stars’ defenders, going in one-on-one against Stars goalie Tina Montpetit. Montpetit stopped Knutson’s first two unimpeded charges to the net, but she couldn’t hold her off forever.

Dabrowski said Knutson will be the best individual player most of the Stars will ever face, but she hasn’t reached this level of success with blazing speed.

“It’s her hands,” Dabrowski said. “She’s got incredible hands. With the confidence and control she has, you don’t see that every day.”

The loss drops the Stars to 5-9 for the season. They have a week between games, with their next contest slated for next Tuesday. That’s when they will host the WSFLG cooperative team from Burnett County at 7 p.m.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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