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The Bus Ride Home from State with The Lady Rams

by Jeff Olsen

Jasmine Hovda was sitting towards the back of the bus this past Sunday afternoon.

She'd had a great tournament and was selected to the Class AA All-Tournament Team.

She is a sophomore and was asked the number of goals she scored.

"I got three goals and two assists."

She briefly chuckled before adding that she got one penalty.

"It was my second of the whole year."

What'd you do? Kiss the referee?

She laughed heartily.

Ms. Jasmine Hovda is probably the least penalized on her team.

It had been tough losing the last game against Maple Grove, and she was asked if she is a team captain.

"No, Lily Erickson and I are assistant captains. Summer Byfuglien and Sam Peterson are our captains."

Jasmine also received Honorable Mention All-State honors. She had said nothing about that honor.

So what stands out?

"I think they're both cool (the two awards) but I think going to state was probably the coolest of all. But I think probably the All-Tournament Team was pretty cool, too."

How's your broken wrist?

"It's doing pretty good. The cast itself stinks pretty bad. I'm going to see if I can get a brace on it instead of a cast."

Jasmine commented on her coach, Amanda Giles, who not only was honored more than a week ago as the Section 8AA Coach of the Year but was honored as the Class AA Coach of the Year.

"I'm so proud of Amanda. She literally has helped our team so much. She is kind of the backbone of this team. Our teammates, too. I love being with them so much."

Moments later, she handed her cellphone to Samantha "Sam" Peterson, who was honored last Saturday evening at the Xcel Energy Center as the Class AA Herb Brooks Award recipient.

What a honor, which includes $1,000 for a high school senior.

The Herb Brooks award is given annually since 2004 to the most qualified hockey player in the state tournament who strongly represents the values, characteristics, and traits that defined Herb Brooks.

It's tremendous honor, and she joins another former Lady Ram Anika Stoskopf, the Class AA 2020 recipient.

"It's crazy," said the humble young lady, who discussed her college plans.

"I'm going to UND for nursing, but I won't play any sports."

Sam is a three-sport athlete, who also participates in volleyball and golf. A year ago, she lost a playoff to advance to the state golf tournament.

"Hopefully, this year," she said.

She played forward for the Rams in her final season and was asked if she scored a goal.

"Not in the state tournament, but I got an assist."

She laughed when told that she will forever be in the state tournament record books.

It was after their loss to Maple Grove when the team had returned to their hotel on Saturday that she learned of the honor.

She is a smart lass with determination and a great laugh.

"I want to become a nurse anesthetist," she said, which includes upwards of seven to ten years of training.

At the front of the bus sat head coach Amanda Giles, whose team went 1 & 2 and finished 6th with two of her players and herself earning top honors.

"Yeah, we had a heckuva of a weekend. It's too bad we couldn't come home with fifth place. Those penalties really cost us."

She first mentioned Samantha "Sam" Peterson.

"Sam is extremely deserving of this award. Obviously, I had to nominate her and I went through the interview process. They were impressed by her leadership in the community as a Team Epic member, Student Council leader and she's been a captain on our team this year and an assistant captain last year."

Giles further noted that Sam helps with the youth group at her church, and commits a lot of time to youth sports.

"I think the award couldn't have gone to a better person, and it is a testament to our community that we're able to raise these athletes to be such loving and supportive community members."

She explained that Team Epic members are involved in anti-bullying, anti-drugs, and anti-alcohol programs.

Next, Coach Giles talked about the impressive honors that sophomore Jasmine Hovda received at State.

"There aren't too many teams that get sixth place at State and actually have a player get a spot on the all-tournament team. That's a testament to the type of player she is, her skill level, and her dedication. She's just an impressive athlete, an impressive hockey player, and an even better person. I think she is more than deserving of both of those awards, and she represents Roseau with a ton of class and is super respectable on and off the ice."

Then, it was time to talk about the coach, who first was honored as the Section 8AA Coach of the Year and then this past weekend as the Class AA Coach of the Year.

On the latest honor, it was a total surprise.

"There are many other deserving coaches, and I'm super honored that I was selected and recognized among my peers," she said, adding that it's a testament to her team.

"While I do a ton of work, they have to execute on the ice, they have to perform, and they make me look good. So, I think this is more of a team award than it is a specifically me award."

The Games

In the opening round, Roseau lost 8-2 to Hill-Murray on the identical score the Lady Rams lost early in the season to the powerhouse St. Paul school.

Coach Giles singled out freshman Ella Ketring.

"She stood out like a stud in that first game. She looked strong, was fast, and drove the net. She was super impressive and played older than she is."

Another star was Jasmine Hovda.

"She played an excellent game. She set up Ella for her goal and had a beautiful goal of her own. She dominates in the defensive zone and really puts the team on her back when we need it."

Her third star was senior goalie Jada Pelowski, who pulled herself from the game in the third period before Madi Lisell took over the net and surrendered two goals before settling in.

"Jada stood on her head throughout the game. Yes, she gave up five goals, but they were all high-scoring opportunities and if we didn't have her in the game for the first three quarters, I think it would have been even worse."

She added that Hill-Murray is explosively talented.

Game Two at the Tria Rink impressed the coaching staff as the Rams won 4-1 over Rosemont.

"The pressure the girls faced knowing this could be our last game was super impressive. They really set the tone in the first period and battled through the whole game to keep the season alive."

Her three stars were Summer Byfuglien, Jasmine Hovda, and Lily Erickson.

"They all played extremely well as did Peyton Remick."

In the consolation finals for fifth place, Maple Grove won on a 4-1 decision as the Lady Rams, a spirited group, were heavily penalized in the second period.

"I thought we played a lot better in the third period and put together a pretty good effort but just couldn't get past Dani Strom, a Ms. Goalie finalist."

Giles chuckled about their luck with opposing goalies.

"In the first game against Hill-Murray, we ran up against the actual Jori Jones Goalie of the Year winner in Grace Zhan."

Is she Vietnamese?

"She is actually from China and her parents still live in China. She's been in the Hill-Murray community, I want to say, for the last five years."

Anyone cry afterwards?

"Oh yes, there were tears of frustration but mostly they were proud of their efforts for the whole season. They got to play 31 games, and it was a long tough season. They should be proud of the efforts they put in. They made the community proud."


Earlier this week, the Roseau City Council proclaimed this past Wednesday, February 28, Samantha Peterson Day.

Thursday, February 29, was proclaimed Jasmine Hovda Day, and Friday, March 1, was proclaimed Coach Amanda Giles Day.


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