Athlete of the Week: Kelly Knetter, Central Wisconsin Storm - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Athlete of the Week: Kelly Knetter, Central Wisconsin Storm

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SCHOFIELD (WAOW) -- With regionals set for Thursday, the Central Wisconsin Storm girls hockey team will begin its quest for an eighth consecutive state appearance.

With 15 freshmen and sophomores on the roster, this season has had its ups and downs. But as senior forward Kelly Knetter has found her footing, the team has found its own.

Knetter leads Central Wisconsin with 34 points this season, and is the second all-time leading pointscorer in Storm history. But the road to the top hasn't been an easy one for the senior.

In the past three years, the senior forward has had three knee surgeries, with the most recent of the setbacks taking away about half of her junior season.

"I just felt like I couldn't catch a break," Knetter said. "It was definitely tough watching my teammates out on the ice having fun. I think that just pushed me all the more to get back out on the ice."

But even after her knees healed, bad breaks kept coming for Knetter. She broke her ankle this past offseason, leaving her status in doubt.

"We were really sure when she would be back," Jana Wimmer, the Storm's head coach, said. "It definitely took a couple of games for her to get back into hockey shape."

Knetter made it back without missing a game, and the rehab has paid off. The senior captain is leading a lightning hot Storm squad, which has won 11 of its last 12 games heading into the tournament.

"For her to persevere, it just shows what a tough kid she is and how much hockey means to her," Wimmer said.

With an eighth-straight trip to state now just three wins away, the senior captain is confident that Central Wisconsin can storm its way down to Madison once again.

"We're at the time of the year where its right or die, and I definitely think we'll be riding," Knetter said.

The Storm plays Medford in its regional final on Thursday. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m at Greenheck Fieldhouse.

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