KASSON, Minn - In hockey, the most important position on the ice is the goaltender.
"You have to be good every night, you can't have a night off," Dodge County Head Coach Jeremy Gunderson said.
You want somebody calm and collected, someone who can take charge and lead the defense.
"She's talking, directing traffic so it's like having a coach in net," Gunderson said. "Getting at her defensemen and players and being an extra set of eyes out there for them."
Senior Sky Hughes is the rock of the Dodge County Wildcats. A three year starter, she's started more than 60 games over the past three seasons.
The senior is heading off to a hot start. Coming into Tuesday's matchup against Hill-Murray, her .945 save percentage ranked 13th in the state, fifth best among goalies who had faced more than 150 shots.
"I've been doing pretty good, I've been keeping my stats up there trying to be the best I can be," Hughes said. "My teammates are doing pretty good, they're getting shots on me, they're working hard in practice. It's going good."
Before that matchup, her goals-against-average was a sparkling 1.50. In the Wildcat's five wins, she allowed just one tally in each of those games. What she does in close games is what Gunderson says is so special.
"Look at the best teams, they have goalies that can steal games or keep them into it," he said. "We talk a lot about save percentage, thinking about that .940. Anytime you have that from a goalie, you're going to have a chance to win every night."
As far as the rest of the season goes, Hughes goal is simple.
"We want to go to state," she said. "We want to win state. It would mean a lot."
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