Stars facing steep climb in hockey playoffs

North Metro senior defender Meghan Held and the rest of the Stars will open the Section 6AA playoffs Saturday, Feb. 5 at Parade Ice Garden. (Sun Post staff photo by Nick Clark)

North Metro senior defender Meghan Held and the rest of the Stars will open the Section 6AA playoffs Saturday, Feb. 5 at Parade Ice Garden. (Sun Post staff photo by Nick Clark)

The mountain will be high. Mount Everest high to be precise.

But as the North Metro girls hockey team heads helmet first into the most talented and deepest of girls high school hockey playoff tournaments, the Stars intend on trying to give it a climb.

“Why not try,” said head coach Aubri Lindberg. “We know what we are up against, but that doesn’t mean we won’t show up try to be that team that shocks everybody.”

Should the Stars even find a way to be competitive, it could qualify as a shocker.

That, however, is no slight on the work Lindberg and her players have done this winter.

The level of improvement on the ice has been beyond noticeable, but it will likely mean little when they arrive at Parade Ice Garden Saturday, Feb. 9 for the beginning of the Section 6AA tournament.

North Metro will be seeded eighth out of the eight teams in the tournament, and they’ll open the playoffs by facing top-ranked Benilde-St. Margaret’s.

The Red Knights are one of six ranked teams in a tournament that also includes No. 2 Minnetonka, No. 7 Hopkins and No. 9 Buffalo – not to mention No. 11 Wayzata and No. 17 Armstrong/Cooper – and that won’t bode well for a North Metro group that is just 5-19-1 overall and has scored all of one goal since the calendar flipped from 2012 to 2013.

“We are struggling on the offensive end, and that has to change if we want any chance at all,” said Lindberg. “We are in a scoring slump, but that doesn’t mean we can’t come out of it.”

The Stars do possess the one game-changer in playoff hockey in senior goaltender Lauren Torborg.

Her numbers aren’t glowing – 4.99 goals against average and .891 saves percentage – but she’s been a rock in goal for the Stars this winter.

“We haven’t given her a ton of help, but if she sees it, she can stop the puck,” Lindberg said. “She can win us a game. Any coach we go up against, that is one thing they say, they are scared of our goaltending, because she can stand on her head. If she decides to stay on her head, anything can happen.”

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