Former player takes over as Panthers' head girls hockey coach

A former player is taking over as the new head coach of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team. Rachel Landquist, a 2006 Park Rapids graduate, scored 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in four seasons as a defensem...

Senior Kylee Pachel returns as the starting goalie for the Panthers this season. Vance Carlson / Enterprise

A former player is taking over as the new head coach of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team.

Rachel Landquist, a 2006 Park Rapids graduate, scored 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in four seasons as a defenseman for the Panthers. Landquist made the Minnesota Select team in 2005 and had offers to play hockey after high school.

"I received offers to try out for some colleges and a Norway team. However, I did not pursue any of those offers and definitely regret it," said Landquist. "I love the game of hockey. This is my first time coaching any team. However, in the past I have helped with the 10-U and Mites.

I am so very excited to assume the position of head coach."

The new head coach inherits eight players from last year's team that finished with an 0-6 record in Mid-State Conference games and a 4-22 overall record. Park Rapids ended the regular season with a 14-game losing streak to receive the No. 5 seed for the Section 8A playoffs. The Panthers defeated No. 4 Detroit Lakes 5-4 in a section quarterfinal game before being eliminated with a 15-0 loss to No. 1 Warroad in the semifinals.


Landquist is looking for an improved season with 14 players competing for ice time. The Panthers (who were outscored 170-36 and outshot 1,246-489 last season) were shut out 11 times and scored one goal in six games while allowing at least 10 goals eight times.

Returning to lead the Panthers this season are seniors Alexa Kennedy, Kinley Nordin and Kylee Pachel; sophomore Elise Rice; freshmen Katie Sagen and Abi Strandlie; and eighth graders Madelyn Ackerman and Savannah Anderson. The three seniors will serve as captains this season.

Pachel returns as the starting goalie after making 1,132 saves last season as a starter in all 26 games while Kennedy was fourth on the team in scoring with 12 points (eight goals, four assists) as a center. Both players earned all-conference honorable mention honors.

Also returning to aid the offense are Ackerman (two goals, one assist) and Anderson (one assist) on the wings while Rice (one goal, three assists), Strandlie (four assists), Nordin (two assists) and Sagen (one goal, two assists) return to lead the defense.

The Panthers have four key spots to fill with the graduation of all-conference players Lexi Hinkley-Smith (who led the team with nine goals and five assists), Tara Johanning (five goals, eight assists), Taylor Sagen (seven goals, six assists) and Paige Myhre (two goals, six assists).

Looking to fill those spots are senior Klohie Mankie (goalie); sophomore Shailyn Pachel (center); eighth grader Amelia Pierce (wing); and seventh graders Grace Ackerman (wing), Ella Burlingame (wing) and Kiana Landt (wing).

"I expect the girls to have fun, learn the importance of being part of a team, outperform our opponents and, of course, everyone wants to win games," said Landquist, who will be assisted by James Sanchez. "The girls look great this year and have been working hard on and off the ice. They seem to be having a lot of fun and coming together really well as a team."

Warroad, the defending Section 8A champion and state Class A runner-up, enters the season rated No. 1 in the pre-season poll while Thief River Falls is rated No. 7. Those two teams are expected to battle it out for the section title. In the Mid-State Conference, Northern Lakes topped the league with a 5-1 record while Prairie Centre went 4-2 and Detroit Lakes finished at 3-3 last season.


Landquist would like to see her team improve on last year's record and finish among the top-four teams in the section to earn a home playoff game.

"I am expecting a very successful season; not just winning games, but having fun and learning some great life lessons," said Landquist. "In order to have a winning season, we will have to continue to keep up our hard work on and off the ice. I think we are going to have a solid team this season. I am so excited to be coaching all these wonderful girls."


Nov. 15 - at Northern Lakes, 7 p.m. Nov. 17 - vs. Morris/Benson, 12 noon. Nov. 20 - at International Falls, 6 p.m. Nov. 23-24 - at Thief River Falls tournament. Nov. 27 - at Detroit Lakes, 7 p.m. Nov. 29 - at Thief River Falls, 7 p.m.

Dec. 6 - at Morris, 6 p.m. Dec. 11 - vs. Detroit Lakes, 7 p.m. Dec. 13 - at Bemidji, 7 p.m. Dec. 21 - vs. Prairie Centre, 5:45 p.m. Dec. 27-28 - at Crookston tournament.

Jan. 7 - at East Grand Forks, 6 p.m. Jan. 11 - vs. International Falls at Walker, 6 p.m. Jan. 15 - at Crookston, 6 p.m. Jan. 17 - vs. Northern Lakes at Walker, 7 p.m. Jan. 19 - vs. East Grand Forks, 12 noon. Jan. 22 - vs. Prairie Centre at Wadena, 7 p.m. Jan. 26 - vs. Eveleth-Gilbert at Walker, 2 p.m. Jan. 29 - vs. Bemidji at Walker, 7 p.m.

Related Topics: HOCKEY
1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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