John Sherman Column – Unique doubleheader set for Braemar

It isn’t often, if ever, that Lake Conference girls hockey fans have the opportunity to see four of the five Lake teams play at the same venue on the same night.

But that will be the case Friday, Jan. 4, at Braemar Arena.

In the first half of the doubleheader at 6 p.m., Minnetonka will face off against Hopkins.

In the nightcap, Edina will play Eden Prairie at 8 p.m.

For those who have not seen all four teams, this will give you a chance to size up the conference race.

Minnetonka-Hopkins should be a terrific game: speed vs. speed.

Senior forwards Amy Petersen and Laura Bowman of the Skippers have already helped their team win two state Class AA championships.

Hopkins has its own set of quick forwards, juniors Nina Rodgers and Jillaine DeYoung and sophomore Corbin Boyd.

If you want to check out two great high school defensemen, watch for Sidney Morin and Sydney Baldwin of Minnetonka.

Eden Prairie girls hockey has never looked better. The Eagles were undefeated through their first 11 games (8-0-3).

McKenzie Johnson, the Eagles’ senior goalie, has been outstanding and should be a finalist for the Senior Goalie of the Year Award at the end of the season.

Angie Heppelmann and Charly Dahlquist, Eden Prairie’s leading scorers, are sophomores. The Eagles are young with only three seniors on the roster.

Edina has star power with senior forwards Liz Trautz and Sarah Nielsen.

If you love nicknames, there’s none better than that of the Edina goalie – Rebecca “Boomer” Sonnek.

Upset at Ridder

After watching the Edina High boys hockey team early in the season, I thought I was watching a team that might run the table.

Then all of a sudden, St. Thomas Academy upset the Hornets in the first round of the Schwan Cup Gold Division tourney Dec. 26 at the University of Minnesota’s Ridder Arena.

Edina didn’t exactly have an off night as the Hornets outshot the Cadets 38-20.

It was one of those nights when Edina didn’t get the right bounces. Tom Novak of the Cadets went up top on a breakaway to give his team the lift it needed for a 2-1 win.

Coleman keys U surge

Joe Coleman, who won the Mr. Basketball of Minnesota Award in 2011 at Hopkins High, has become a key piece in the University of Minnesota men’s basketball resurgence.

I love the way Coleman runs the floor and makes plays in the open court. He might be the best 6-foot-4 dunker in the country.

Coleman’s consistency has improved since last season. He currently averages 10.6 points per game for the 12-1 Golden Gophers.

Friends not forgotten

As we flip the calendar from 2012 to 2013, let’s take a moment to remember three longtime friends who succumbed to disease in the past year.

Wayzata football and tennis coach Roger Lipelt will be remembered as a man with many “best friends.”

When he was stricken with cancer, he never let himself slip into depression, and, in fact, helped his friends remain upbeat.

Hopkins High’s former athletic director Ron Sellnow also battled gamely against long odds after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Veteran Hopkins cross country coach Ed Bauman talked about a fishing trip that he and Sellnow took with a group of friends. Ron hid his pain, so his friends could enjoy pulling in the big ones.

Lyle Hanks, a teacher and coach in St. Louis Park before he became mayor of the town, died late in 2012 as the result of fibrosis of the lungs.

I had the opportunity to talk at length with Lipelt, Sellnow and Hanks on several occasions. They were successful in the education business because of one common bond – they put the kids first.