Six area players, four from Hudson, one from New Richmond and one from Somerset, have been selected to the Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association 2019-20 All-State Team.
Hudson senior Peyton Hanson was an all-state first team selection for the second straight season. Raider sophomore Max Giblin was named to the first team for the first time. Hudson had two players earn honorable mention all-state honors: juniors Sam Ross and Alex Ripplinger. New Richmond senior Garrett Thomas was an honorable mention choice, as was Somerset senior Beaudee Smith.
Hansen earned all-state honors for the third straight season and second time on the first team after leading the Big Rivers Conference in scoring with 55 points (28 goals, 27 assists) on his way to being named the BRC Player of the Year. He finished his career second on Hudson’s all-time scoring list.
“He’s a raw talent and arguably the most talented player in the history of Hudson High School,” Raider coach Jake Drewiske said. “I believe he’s got all the tools in the tool box, and he’s got the statistics to back it up. He’s got all the talent in the world, and I hope he gets the chance to play at a high level in juniors.”
Giblin led the Raiders in assists this season with 28 while adding seven goals and is one of just two sophomores named to the all-state first team.
“That speaks volumes,” Drewiske said. “He’s well respected, not only by our coaching staff but across the state. Max is mature beyond his years mentally and physically. He’s a gifted, solid, all-around player and it’s great to see him get that recognition. At the same time he’s set the bar high, and now he has to set more goals and work to achieve them in his junior and senior years.”
Ripplinger went 15-5 with a 1.56 goals against average, .904 save percentage and four shutouts this season after undergoing major hip surgery as a sophomore. Drewiske said stats alone don’t tell the whole story about the season Ripplinger had.
“We outshot teams in most of our games,” Drewiske noted. “But he did a great job of staying mentally focused and making big saves when we needed them most. Especially coming off major hip surgery as a 16 year-old. I’m proud of what he accomplished both mentally and physically. He’s a gamer.”
Drewiske said he was very happy to see Ross, who tallied nine goals and 26 assists, honored for his play this season.
“He’s 5-9, 140 pounds, but he competes harder than any player on the ice,” the coach said. “I like to say Sam was the straw that stirred our drink this year.”
Thomas ranked third on the Tigers in scoring this season with 14 points on six goals and eight assists. His six goals tied for third on the team. He was a four-year varsity player and a captain the past two seasons.
New Richmond coach Zach Kier said he was pleased that Thomas was able to get this recognition despite the Tigers growing pains this season.
“Throughout the section and state they saw his skill set,” Kier said. Kier said “dynamic” is the best way to describe Thomas’ skills. “He was our motor on the back end. His skating ability is up there with some of the best. His skating ability separates him.”
If there was a defining move that turned Somerset into a state tournament team, it was the move of Smith to defense midway through the season.
Smith remained an offensive force, but he provided the puck handling skills that were badly needed by the Spartans in the defensive zone.
Smith still had a big offensive season, with 22 goals and 19 assists for 41 points, leading the Spartans in goals and points.
Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said Smith’s ability to move the puck out of the defensive zone was a huge spark for the offense and it also showed the other defensemen who it should be done. Smith’s ability to lead the rush helped teach the forwards to get into position to accept a pass from him, while also showing the defensemen to be aware they had to fill his defensive position when he was deep in the offensive zone.
Three other Middle Border Conference players also received honorable mention recognition. They included Baldwin-Woodville’s Zac Holme, a senior at St. Croix Central; and Amery seniors Jackson Henningsgard and Ethan Mork.