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Athlete of the Week: Proctor/Hermantown’s Michaela Phinney

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PROCTOR, MN- Playoff hockey brings out the best in players, and that's just exactly what's happening to Proctor/Hermantown's Michaela Phinney.

In the last two playoff wins for the Mirage, Phinney has accounted for 6 points. She says shes owes all her success to her counterparts.

"A lot of it is my linemates. They feed me the puck and I get lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with them and a lot of my skill comes from them. We work great together, we always seem to have the offense that we've been looking for so it's easy. We're just lucky to find the back of the net, I guess," said Phinney.

Head Coach Emma Stauber, who's in her first season at the helm says Phinney's play has changed a lot since the start of the year.

"Obviously she's been a leader on the stat board, which is awesome we need that. Especially in key situations like a couple weeks ago against Blaine, had a real nice goal to get us the win. It seemed like she was struggling at the beginning of the year and for her to able to find a rhythm and to get pucks to the back of the net has been huge for her confidence and especially for the team," said Stauber.

With Phinney putting up big numbers in big games, perhaps the biggest game awaits her and the rest of the Mirage as they face Cloquet-Esko-Carlton in the section 7A title game.

"They're going to give you the best game that they have. They're coached very well, they're very disciplined and they're going to be coming to try and get the lead so we know that's coming. The biggest thing for our girls is to be ready," added Stauber.

And Stauber has been preparing her players for this exact moment.

"The intensity of these games are insanely high, these are the biggest games of the year. You're going to where you want to be, the state tournament and that's our goal at the end of the game. Emma's been pushing us really hard to get to that goal and she knows that we want to be there," said Phinney.

As for Stauber's gameplan heading into the game, she keeps it simple.

"Play our game, that's been our motto since we've gotten into our rhythm before Christmas. It's just all about us, we need to take care of what we need to do and makes teams adjust to us."

Puck drop between Proctor/Hermantown and Cloquet-Esko-Carlton is set for 7 PM.

Neil Vierzba

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