With top defenseman Kate Hallett and dynamic scoring forward Alev Baysoy, the St. Paul United girls’ hockey team feels it has a winning combination to make it to Xcel Energy Center next month.
The two all-star veterans have helped ease growing pains for the co-op program, comprising students from their school, Visitation, and St. Paul Academy, that is adjusting to a new coaching staff.
Baysoy, a Princeton recruit, is leading the team with 20 goals through 19 games. She has registered two hat tricks and added 13 assists for a point total of 33.
“She’s our best athlete,” coach David Cole said. “She’s our best-conditioned athlete. She’s our strongest kid. She’s the captain of our soccer team.”
Baysoy is complete player, combining power, strength, speed, hockey sense and the ability to shoot the puck.
“Sometimes she does things that are really remarkable,” Cole said. “Sometimes, you just go ‘wow.’ She just has that wow factor.”
Baysoy has been in consideration for a number of national squads. Cole believes it’s possible for Baysoy to eventually make an Olympic team.
Hallett, a junior, was the final cut for the USA Hockey U18 National Team this past year. She is the total package. Hallett has strength, skating, a big shot and high hockey IQ.
But her leadership qualities cannot be overlooked.
“That’s one thing that separates her from just about everybody I’ve ever coached,’’ Cole said. “She’s a great leader. She’s spirited. She’s fun. Players want to be around her. She’s very inclusive. She looks out for the little ones and makes sure they feel a part of everything.”
While Hallett is considered a shutdown defenseman, she has good offensive instincts and is always a scoring threat. She also has been hurt for a good chunk of the season.
“She’s the heart of our team in a lot of ways,” Cole said. “In a way, she’s like a fourth coach for us. I’m going to guarantee you right here that we have several more wins if we have her in the lineup. This is a kid that can take over situations and clean up a lot of your messes.”
These two veterans have eased the new coaching staff’s transition. Cole grew up in Massachusetts, where he played youth and eventually college hockey at Williams College. He worked for the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning of the NHL for a total of 11 years, where a big part of his duties included youth and adult hockey instruction to help cultivate fan bases.
Cole ended up taking a job at Blake, where he worked for three years. He ran the girls’ hockey summer programs and served as an assistant and goalie coach.
He saw an opening at United and jumped on it. He knew the team had talent that could make it successful in all three zones.
“And we’re going to be a good team for a while,” Cole said. “We have three seniors and three juniors. The majority of our team is comprised of freshmen and sophomores. You’ve got to like that. We have a great chance to do things this year. But it won’t end this year.”
United is leading the Tri-Metro Conference with a 6-1-1 record. While the future is bright, the main goal is to march through Section 4 in Class 1A and win a championship.
“This team wants to go to state,” Cole said. “I don’t want to sugarcoat it. These kids want to go to state. The seniors realize this is it. This team knows this is a good group. We have good depth and good goaltending. I like our chances.”