Area Female Athlete: Lightning's Tietz terrorizing opposing goalies
Sydney Tietz is just happy to be on skates again. Her Northern Lakes Lightning girls hockey teammates are happy she's on their team and not the opposition. After two knee surgeries kept Tietz off the ice for most of her sophomore season, the juni...
Sydney Tietz is just happy to be on skates again.
Her Northern Lakes Lightning girls hockey teammates are happy she's on their team and not the opposition.
After two knee surgeries kept Tietz off the ice for most of her sophomore season, the junior has been on a terror.
"It feels awesome," said Tietz. "That was my goal, to get out there and skate again and be stronger than I was last year and that has happened. So it's been an amazing feeling."
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- Year: Junior
- School: Pequot Lakes
- Sport: Girls hockey
- Position: Right wing
- Highlights: Finished with six goals and an assist in three tournament wins
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It's also been an amazing season for Tietz and the Lightning, who improved to 11-4 Thursday. Northern Lakes has won 10 straight with three of those coming in Blaine last week.
Tietz opened the Schwan Cup with a goal against North Metro helping the Lightning to a 3-0 victory. She posted a hat trick in a 5-4 win over Arrowhead the next day and finished the three-day tournament with two goals and an assist in a 6-1 win over Fairmont as Northern Lakes claimed the Open National Division title.
"It's definitely the line I'm on," Tietz said. "We have good chemistry. It makes it easier to find the pucks and stuff. Sam (Gutzman) who I skate with, has almost all of my assists. That's just helped a lot. It's just easy to find the back of the net when you get wide open and have good chemistry with your team."
Thursday, Tietz posted her third hat trick of the season in a 4-3 win over Eveleth-Gilbert. Through the team's first 15 games, Tietz has registered 17 goals and 21 points. She's connected on two power-play goals and two game-winning goals.
"Sydney is the epitome of a power forward," said Lightning head coach John Stockler. "She just plays a strong game. She is strong on the puck. When she has the puck, it's really hard to knock her off it. She is able to use that strength and willpower to get herself scoring opportunities. She's finding the net and finding the opening spot and putting it home lately."
Stockler said Tietz is a strong player despite the injuries from last year. He said she's got one of the hardest, fastest shots of any player they've played against. In just his second season as Lightning head coach, Stockler admitted he wasn't sure what Tietz would bring to the table. He said she exceeded all of his expectations of her this season.
"My thing for her was I was expecting her to be one of our top six forwards and on one of our top two lines," Stockler said. "Even without coaching her, just from her drive and her want to be good, I had those expectations of her. I knew she was going to want to come in off a year and an offseason that she worked her butt off and she's going to be a top six forward."
Tietz said she's reached her modest goals coming off an injury. It's an injury that hasn't bothered her this season giving the forward even more confidence for the rest of the season.
"I just wanted to make sure I was strong enough to play," Tietz said. "I was kind of worried about our team, too, because we have a much younger team than we have had in the past years. We have seventh- and eighth-graders on our team so I was nervous to see how we would all play together. It's been a really good season so far so it's been a lot of fun to watch. The younger girls just have so much drive, which is really nice to have.
"The reason for our success is definitely the drive that we have. We get so pumped up for our games. Last year the girls just wouldn't show up for the games. It was hard for me because I was just watching. Last year's team just didn't have the same drive and mentality. With these younger girls they just want to accomplish huge things. A seventh-grader playing varsity that's a huge thing. It's really fun to see them work hard when they touch the ice."
Other notable performances:
Basketball: Taylor Ehnstrom, Aitkin, finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists against Foley. She added 16 points against Deer River.
Jami Nelson, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds, four assists and three blocks against Onamia.
Kelsi Stuckmayer, Pierz, scored 26 points against Virginia.
Shyanne Loiland, Crosby-Ironton, finished with 21 points and nine rebounds against Proctor.
Olivia Lane, Pequot Lakes, finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds against Mora.
Claire Wolhowe, Staples-Motley, scored 26 points against North Branch.
Sophia Sowada, Little Falls, finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds against North Branch.
Hockey: Chaia Tulenchik, Northern Lakes, stopped 66 of 72 shots helping the Lightning finish 3-0 in the Schwan Cup Open National Division.