Sidney Polzin

Chippewa Falls/Menomonie’s Sidney Polzin skates during a game against Eau Claire Area at Hobbs Ice Center on Feb. 16, 2018.

CHIPPEWA FALLS — Last season, Sidney Polzin’s goal-scoring exploits took place in a shadow.

With Kaylee Frenette lighting up the scoreboard as one of the Chippewa Falls/Menomonie co-op’s all-time best players, much of the spotlight was centered on her.

That was no problem for Polzin, who was just a freshman last winter. She learned a thing or two from Frenette, and finished as the team’s second-best scorer.

But this season, it’s been Polzin’s time to shine.

The sophomore leads Chippewa Falls/Menomonie in goals (13), assists (six) and points (19). She is sixth in the ultra-competitive Big Rivers Conference in goals scored.

“With a kid like Sid, her ability to just pick up the puck and go has been her strong suit,” Chippewa Falls/Menomonie coach Tony Menard said. “Just getting the puck on her stick and trying to capitalize on a shot opportunity. That’s where you see her most comfortable at.”

Finding the back of the net hasn’t required any outrageous tricks or gimmicks for Polzin. Instead, a simple approach has garnered high-volume results.

“It’s just shooting and getting rebounds,” Polzin said. “Shooting when I have the right opportunity, and taking the first shot.”

It has worked so far. Heading into tonight’s game at Hudson, Polzin has 25 career goals and 23 career assists. That’s right around the same pace Frenette scored at in her first two seasons before going on to finish in the top five in co-op history for career points.

Polzin has showcased plenty of consistency this season, tallying at least one point in 13 of the team’s 21 games so far. She started out the winter remarkably well, with eight goals in the first four games of the season.

“She’s been able to be that go-to player, whether it’s on the power play or carrying the puck up the ice,” Menard said.

The power play has provided some quality looks for Polzin this season, and the team gives her a lot of freedom when that unit hits the ice. She has four power-play goals this winter.

“She’s been quarterbacking our power play, so she’s getting a lot of quality looks from that,” Menard said. “You hate to put a lot of pressure on someone as a sophomore, but she’s handled it really well.”

Pressure has been no issue for Polzin, who took it upon herself to grab a bigger role this season.

“Knowing that we were losing some key players (entering the season), I wanted to step up into that leader role,” Polzin said.

Chippewa Falls/Menomonie is a young team this season with only a couple of seniors on the squad, so a younger player taking a larger role was always a possibility.

Knowing that would be the case, it was beneficial for someone like Polzin to learn from a veteran like Frenette when she had the chance.

“It was nice having her paired with Kaylee on the same line last year, to be on the ice at the same time to see what she was doing to give herself opportunities,” Menard said.

That was one of the places where she learned to hone her strong suit: getting the puck up the ice at a moment’s notice.

“(I learned from Frenette) you may not always have your line-mates with you, but just take the puck and go,” Polzin said.

She plays for Team Wisconsin in the offseason, but she’s got more business to take care of at the high school level before thinking about that. After the game at Hudson tonight, Chippewa Falls/Menomonie begins postseason play with a game at sixth-ranked St. Croix Valley.

With this much experience to her name already, Menard sees more big things to come for the sophomore forward.

“Moving forward, if she continues to put in work in the offseason, there’s only going up from here,” Menard said.