Prep girls hockey: Monroe’s Anika Einbeck makes an impact with Rock County Fury
Despite her youth, Anika Einbeck leads the Beloit Memorial co-operative girls hockey team — known as the “Rock County Fury” — into WIAA sectional play this week.
Einbeck will lead a sizable youth brigade into Tuesday’s sectional semifinal. The second-seeded Fury (14-9-2) will play host to third-seeded Onalaska at 7 p.m. at Edwards Ice Arena in Beloit. The winner advances to Friday’s sectional final at Madison Ice Arena.
On the ice, Einbeck, a forward and a sophomore at Monroe High School, led her team in goals scored with 21 during the regular season. That total earned her a tie for 10th place on WisconsinPrepHockey.net’s state list.
Off the ice, Einbeck is focused on developing herself personally, as she is a part of many clubs and volunteers at the Monroe Clinic.
Einbeck also is determined to fine-tune her skills and physicality. Joined by fellow Monroe student and Fury defenseman Cammi Ganshert, she routinely gets up for a 6:30 a.m. class that focuses on weightlifting and agility work before school starts.
The two also travel the extra 45 minutes to and from practice in Beloit, often missing the beginning of practice and valuable ice time. Girls from Albany, Beloit Memorial, Beloit Turner, Brodhead, Clinton, Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Lena-Winslow (Ill.), Milton, Monroe and Orangeville (Ill.) high schools are welcome to join the program.
“It shows our dedication to the sport and how much we are willing to put in to get out of it,” Einbeck said.
Ganshert, a senior captain for the Fury, also is a standout for the track and field program and has twice competed in the WIAA Division 2 state swimming meet for Monroe.
“I’ve always looked up to Cammi. She’s always there, and pushing me to be the best me,” Einbeck added.
The two grew up together in youth hockey, where Anika’s father, Blane Einbeck, was their coach.
“I loved it because he always pushed me and others to get better,” Einbeck said.
Blane is now in in his third year as an assistant coach with the Fury, alongside head coach Luke Steurer. In their first year, 2016, the Fury made its first and only appearance in the WIAA state tournament.
Ganshert is the only player on the roster who remains from the 2016 state team.
“She provides insight to the players on what it takes to get there,” Steurer said.
But Einbeck, as a sophomore, also carries natural leadership qualities.
“Anika is an underclassman, (but) you would never be able to tell,” Ganshert said. “Anika puts 110 percent effort into everything we do, whether that be off-ice workouts, backchecking drills, or digging for the puck in the corners.”
“Her leadership quality shows the other players what hard work and dedication will get you,” Steurer said, “She plays both ends of the ice the whole game and gives it her all, no matter what.”
To Anika, it’s all about communicating with her teammates and researching her opponents.
“Most of the time I talk on the ice. I like to encourage people and switch up my lines. On the bench, I give positive encouragement and feedback to my teammates.”
The Fury lineup also features the Knauf sisters, Haley and Alyssa, who come from Albany High School and have provided a dual scoring threat.
Haley, a junior, and Alyssa, a sophomore, tied for the team lead with 33 regular-season points, finishing one ahead of Einbeck.
Freshman goaltender Olivia Cronin also has proved to be a standout, posting a .915 save percentage as part of the youth brigade that helped the Fury replace seven players lost to graduation.
The open atmosphere that Steurer has established has proven to be successful, as he helped lead the Fury to back-to-back Badger Conference championships.
“We let players be creative when the time is right and encourage them to think outside the box,” Steurer said. “We listen to the girls’ input and try to implement their ideas when we can.”