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Marlins to play in Sioux Falls Stampede's Hockey Day event for the first time on Saturday

Three Mitchell teams will play on the Premier Center ice on Saturday afternoon.

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The Mitchell Marlins boys hockey team looks on during a game against the Huron All-Stars on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023, at the Mitchell Activity Center.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic
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MITCHELL — For the first time, the Mitchell Marlins will be involved with the Sioux Falls Stampede's Hockey Day South Dakota event on Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Premier Center in Sioux Falls.

The event includes a 10 a.m. girls varsity game, a noon boys junior varsity game, and a 2 p.m. boys varsity game between Watertown and Mitchell prior to a United States Hockey League game against Omaha at 6 p.m. Saturday night.

Play begins at 8:30 a.m. with a Sioux Falls vs. Brookings squirts-level contest. It will be the Marlins' first chance to play in the arena, which seats 6,800 fans for most hockey games.

The Stampede started the Hockey Day event in 2017-18. Watertown played in the event for the first time in 2021 against Brandon Valley, and the same two teams were involved in 2022 for a junior varsity game, while Yankton and Watertown played a boys varsity game.

The Stampede are offering $15 tickets online that are good for games all day, with $5 from each ticket going back to the South Dakota Amateur Hockey Association. Through that offer, Marlins fans can sit together in Section 102 for the Stampede game.

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The Marlins boys are 4-2-1 prior to a Friday night game at Yankton, with the Marlins already defeating the Lakers on Nov. 26 by a 10-2 score in Watertown. Watertown is tied for fourth in the SDAHA boys standings with 10 points, while Mitchell is tied for seventh with nine points.

In the girls standings, Mitchell (5-3-0) is fourth in points with 11, with Watertown (1-8-0) in eighth with two points. The teams played in the Marlins' season opener on Nov. 26, a 6-2 win in Watertown.

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Mitchell's Brynlee Sabers passes the puck during a girls high school hockey game on Friday, Dec. 30, 2022 at the Mitchell Activities Center.
Marcus Traxler / Mitchell Republic

Sabers with a wide lead in state goal-scoring race

No one in South Dakota girls hockey is scoring goals like Mitchell's Brynlee Sabers this season.

Only a freshman, Sabers leads the state in goals scored with 22, while no other player in the state has more than 12. She has 31 points total this season, with two seven-point games this season (Dec. 4 and Jan 7, both vs. Huron), plus matched her career-high four goals in a 9-4 win at Huron on Dec. 4.

A season ago, Sabers scored 26 goals and had 24 assists for 50 points in 18 regular-season games, plus seven goals in the three-game state tournament last season, when Mitchell finished in second place. She also scored four goals in her seventh-grade season in 2020-21.

This season, Marlins teammate Makenna Tronnes has 11 goals and 12 assists for 23 points, and Reese Amick has scored seven times. Tronnes' 12 assists ranks No. 2 in the state.

In boys hockey, Mitchell's Parker Denne ranks No. 2 in goals scored with 16 goals in seven games. (Brookings' Zach Struck has scored 18 times in 10 games.) Denne has 21 points scored, while Levi Loken has 16 points to his name, including 11 assists. Goalie Drake Jerke has a .928 save percentage — which ranks fourth in the state — and a 2.36 goals against average.

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