MISSOULA — The Missoula Lady Bruins have taken care of the competition in Montana, winning high school girls hockey state championships three years in a row. Now they will skate against the nation.
The KPAX Youth Sports Spotlight this week shines on a group making history. Montana all-star teams have competed at the national level before, but the Lady Bruins are the first group from a single city in the Treasure State to advance to the USA Hockey National Girls High School Championship.
A special collection of talent has been building to this moment for a long time.
“Myself and my teammates were the first girls that joined the girls program when it first started,” said senior defender Hanna Huang. “And so we’ve been playing with each other for almost a decade, so we know each other really well. Super fun. I love hockey. And getting to play with this group of girls has always been the highlight of every single year, stepping onto the ice with them.”
“We’ve been looking forward to this all season, so it’s a big deal,” added junior defender Jaden Nielsen. “We’ve been practicing a lot more than usual just for this. And so all of the hard work is kind of coming together for this week. Usually the minute you step outside of Montana competition raises incredibly, so it will be interesting to see how we compare to other teams.”
Nielsen admitted her team hit a bit of a skid late in the season, but the Bruins put it all together to play their best at the state tournament in Missoula last month.
They’ll take the ice in Strongsville, Ohio on Thursday and play at least three games at nationals, with the championship wrapping up the competition on Sunday morning.