Lexi Holman was an impact player from the first time she saw quality ice time at the varsity level.
She was one of Sartell/Sauk Rapids’ top point scorers in her freshman and sophomore seasons, and the offense has revolved around her the last two years.
Holman finished with 21 goals and 22 assists for 43 total points in her senior year.
She’s the 2014 Times’ area girls hockey player of the year, becoming the fourth straight Storm’N Sabre over a five-year span to take the honor.
“It was a great experience and I loved every second of playing high school hockey,” Holman said. “What I’ll miss most is the girls. We were a family.
“I loved playing for the Storm’N Sabres. It was the best experience of my life.”
Holman heads the six-player All-Area first team that also includes teammate Clare Minnerath, River Lakes’ Shelby Teal and Shaye Cogelow-Ruter and the St. Cloud Icebreakers’ Tatum Peterson and Marren Pfannenstein.
The team is selected by the Times’ staff based on nominations from area coaches.
Sartell/Sauk Rapids forward Nikki Kothenbeutel won player of the year honors in 2011, Kendra Rasmussen took the award in 2012 and 2013 when she was a senior and goaltender Erin Deters won it before she graduated last year.
Holman played in Rasmussen’s shadow her first two seasons, finishing with 26 goals and 26 assists as a freshman and sophomore.
When Rasmussen graduated, Holman embraced the responsibility of a leadership role.
“Kendra is a great player and those were some huge shoes to fill, but I had to step up and take the lead,” Holman said. “I just hoped everyone else would step and we would make up for her loss.”
Holman led the team in goals, assists and points in the last two years, but it’s not just goal production that Sartell/Sauk Rapids coach Marty Anderson loves.
“She’s not the flashiest player in the world, but she does everything well,” Anderson said. “She plays well in her own end of the rink, playing center.
“She shoots the puck well, moves the puck well, kills penalties and plays on the power play.”
Added Holman: “I have size and I’m good in the corners. I’m very defensively minded and I always look to make passes. I have teammates with me who knew where to be at all times. It made my job a lot easier.”
Junior Sarah Kaschmitter will be Sartell/Sauk Rapids’ next player to watch, with three seasons of varsity experience and similar offensive abilities to Holman’s.
Kaschmitter and Holman tied for the lead in assists this season with 22 each.
“Sarah will step up and she’s a very fast skater and she works hard all the time,” Holman said. “She knows where to be all of the time. She’s going to step up and be great next year.”
Holman will continue her career at Concordia-Wisconsin, a school she said has a good physical therapy program.
She’ll leave the Sartell/Sauk Rapids program after helping the Storm’N Sabres win three straight Central Lakes Conference championships.
A trip to the state tournament eluded Holman and Sartell/Sauk Rapids.
“It was a bummer because that was our goal every year to make the state tournament,” Holman said. “We had really good teams and we knew it was a challenge.
“We were up to the challenge, but we just fell short.”
Said Anderson: “I think she had a great career if you look at what she did with the team, winning three conference championships in a row.
“Not many players have the chance to win one and she was a big part of three.”
All-Area player profiles
Lexi Holman, senior forward, Sartell/Sauk Rapids
Team captain … 21 goals, 22 assists and 43 points with a plus-32 rating in 2013-14 … led Central Lakes Conference in scoring … finished career with 62 goals, 73 assists (second-most in school history) and 135 points … 3-time All-Central Lakes Conference and All-Section 8AA … four-time letterwinner … helped Storm’N Sabres win three straight CLC titles … leading scorer in CLC … will play hockey at Concordia-Wisconsin … played volleyball for Sauk Rapids.
Tatum Peterson, senior forward, St. Cloud Icebreakers
Two-year captain … 17 goals, 17 assists and 34 points with a plus-26 rating in 2013-14 … finished career with 88 career points … five-year letterwinner … two-time All-CLC … Section 8AA honorable mention … “She has matured into a great forward. She has been a phenomenal leader for the Breakers,” Icebreakers coach Mark Chamernick said … captain on St. Cloud Tech girls soccer team.
Shelby Teal, senior forward, River Lakes
Team captain … 17 goals, 19 assists and 36 points in 2013-14 season … finished career with 34 goals, 38 assists and 76 points … All-CLC … All-Section 8-2A … “She has a great foundation of skills that makes her a great two-way player,” River Lakes coach Jack Freeman said. “She plays with an incredible passion for the game. Shelby was our team leader on and off the ice.” … plans to play hockey and study communications and art at Hamline.
Shaye Cogelow-Ruter, junior defenseman, River Lakes
Had eight goals, nine assists and 17 points in 2013-14 … All-CLC selection … HP 17 participant … “Shaye is a very talented player with so much potential,” Freeman said. “She is a very skilled defenseman who produces for our team offensively and defensively. She really separated herself this year as a top player night in and night out.”
Marren Pfannenstein, junior defenseman, St. Cloud Icebreakers
Team captain … one goal, 16 assists and 17 points with a plus-24 rating in 2013-14 … four-year letterwinner … voted team’s best defenseman … All-CLC Honorable Mention … All-Section 8AA … “She had a fantastic year for us,” Chamernick said. “She is a solid defensemen that can rush the puck and be an offensive player. Marren routinely was on the ice when other teams’ top lines were out there and she finished with a plus-24.”
Clare Minnerath, sophomore goaltender, Sartell/Sauk Rapids
Finished 19-5-3 with 1.22 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 2013-14 … all four categories are single-season school records, previously held by Bemidji State goalie Erin Deters … All-CLC selection … All-Section 8-2A.