Last season, the Burnsville girls hockey team won their last 10 regular season games, claimed the South Suburban Conference title and earned the No. 1 seed in Section 3AA.
It sure seems like the Blaze are on that same path this winter. Burnsville has reeled off eight straight wins to improve to 12-4-1 overall (8-2 in the SSC).
Lakeville South leads the SSC through 10 games with a 10-0 mark, including a 3-1 win at Burnsville Dec. 9.
The Blaze are averaging 6.1 goals per game in their win steak and have beaten three Section 3AA foes, including a 2-1 league victory in overtime at Eastview Jan. 6.
The Blaze followed with a 7-2 conference win at home over Lakeville North Jan. 8. Senior Zoie Dundon led the way with a goal and four assists.
Last winter, the strong finish didn’t propel Burnsville to the Section 3AA title. The team was upset in the semifinals by Apple Valley, finishing the season with 16 wins (16-3-1 overall).
Burnsville is 5-1 against section teams so far this season with the other four victories over Eagan (5-2), Park (6-2), Apple Valley (8-3) and Hastings (7-1). The one loss is to Rosemount (3-2).
Burnsville, Rosemount (13-2) and Cretin-Derham Hall (11-5-1) are all vying for the No. 1 seed in the section.
The Blaze will face Rosemount again in SSC play Jan. 29, which could decide the top spot.
Meanwhile, in the win over Lakeville North, senior Katie Katzmarek had two goals and an assist for the Blaze. Sophomores Kylie Glassen and Addie Bowlby, senior Rylee Colin and junior Olivia Tilbury also had goals.
Colin, junior Madisyn Krumholz and sophomore Anna Thomas each had an assist. Sophomore Addison Oettinger finished with 24 saves in goal.
Oettinger made 28 stops in the Blaze’s win over Eastview. Katzmarek scored the game-winner 6:06 into the extra session with Colin and Glassen getting the assists.
Katzmarek also scored in the first period with Dundon and Collin assisting.
Burnsville went into the Eastview game off of a 7-4 conference win versus Prior Lake Jan. 4. Bowlby finished a goal and three assists, while Dundon had a goal and two assists and Krumholz had two goals and an assist.
Katzmarek also scored a pair of goals, while senior Olivia Carlson had a goal and an assist. Colin and senior Fiona Hatton both had one assist.
Sophomore Emma Tilbury finished with 17 saves in goal.
Through 17 games, Dundon was leading the Blaze with 34 points (9 goals, 25 assists). Katzmarek had 28 points (22 goals, 6 assists), followed by Bowlby with 23 (15 goals, 8 assists), Krumholz with 18 (9 goals, 9 assists), Carlson with 14 (6 goals, 8 assists) and senior Sami Bowlby with 10 (6 goals, 4 assists).
Bowlby, the team’s leading scorer last season with 14 goals and 14 assists, has been out since Burnsville’s fifth game, a 2-2 tie at Proctor/Hermantown, back on Nov. 27.