HDM: Husband-wife duo coach Cretin-Derham Hall to win over Duluth
ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesotan hockey phenom formerly known as Krissy Wendell loves giving her husband a good ribbing now and again.
There wasn’t much outdoor ice for John Pohl to carve up growing up in Red Wing, Minn. And the other half of the hockey power couple that coaches Cretin-Derham Hall’s girls doesn’t let him forget.
"For me, it’s like, that’s what I did," said Krissy Pohl, a Brooklyn Park native, former Gopher and two-time U.S. Olympian. "It was very normal for me growing up."
Said John Pohl, Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey in 1998 who went on to win a national championship with the Gophers and play for the Toronto Maple Leafs: "My wife always gives me crap about that. I probably skated, from the time I was in kindergarten to high school, outdoors maybe 10 times."
He didn’t have skates on Saturday night at the St. Paul Downtown Airport. But he got a taste of outdoor pucks under the lights along with his team, which outlasted Duluth 5-4 in the 2015 Hockey Day Minnesota nightcap.
"I was really excited, really happy that we got the win," said John Pohl, whose team battled the conditions and uneven lighting as the sun set and a pair of light standards gave out during the second period. "It was kind of ugly, and I don’t know if we played our best, but it was a great experience for the kids."
With handfuls of family, friends and fans braving the wind and decreasing temperatures at this fully-operational airfield, the Raiders (14-3-3) got a pair of goals from freshman forward Anna Klein and the game solidifier from senior Annie Boeckers at the third period’s 6:01 mark. That negated a furious comeback from Duluth (7-10-3) — a co-op between Duluth East and Duluth Denfeld high schools — which led 2-1 in the first and scored with a minute left to make it 5-4.
Ana Kunst, Claire Lemker, Ava Meyer and Avery Ziegler scored for the Northern Stars.
"It was different," said Cretin-Derham Hall senior Paige Voight, who had a goal and an assist in her first game back from helping the United States’ under-18 team win gold at the IIHF World Championships. "It was hard to get used to . . . but we dealt with it, so it’s all good."
The Northern Stars’ late surge against Class 2A’s 11th-ranked team ensured the ninth annual Hockey Day’s three games all ended in one-goal margins.
There are no moral victories, Duluth coach Cory Stafne said afterward, but there wasn’t much to frown at after watching his banged-up squad hang with one of the state’s best.
"They had smiles on their faces when it was all over," Stafne said. "This will probably be the highlight of their hockey careers."
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