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Red Wing's Nicole Schammel eyes the net during the Wingers' 9-2 win over Mahtomedi Tuesday night. Schammel scored three goals, including one on this shot late in the first period. (Republican Eagle photo by Kyle Stevens)

Girls Hockey: Red Wing routs Mahtomedi

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Scoring is a sure-fire way to make fans jump from their seats. Big hits and flashy saves can have the same effect, but in girls hockey, the hitting is minimal – and illegal – and the goaltender must face the kind of shots required for a stellar stop.

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So scoring it is for Red Wing, which, after a 9-2 win over Mahtomedi Tuesday evening, has pumped in 21 goals in three easy victories to start the season.

But everyone knew the Wingers would be able to score. Red Wing returned the top scoring line in the state, including the top goal-scorer in Nicole Schammel. So while the fans were able to cheer on each of Schammel’s three goals, the senior captain also got the chance to do some celebrating on her own.

“I don’t think that our other lines realize that we get way more excited when the other lines score than when we score,” Schammel said. “It’s just so fun to see the younger kids step up this year and put a couple in the net.”

Schammel was talking about eighth-grader Taylor Heise, who chipped in two goals, including a tally just 46 seconds into the third period. That goal, the second in the first minute of the final frame, ended any dream that Mahtomedi may have had about a victory as the clock would stop only twice more: once on Reagan Haley’s goal 11 minutes, 14 seconds into the third period, and once on a timeout by the Zephyrs.

The blowout was the third in as many games for the Wingers, but Red Wing did give up its first two goals of the season. Still, it was another opportunity for Heise and the second line to play more minutes, and for the third line to keep rolling off the bench all game.

“We expect that top unit to do what they’re doing,” Red Wing head coach Scott Haley  said. “For us to take our game to the next level, we need all 13 rostered varsity kids contributing at a high level.”

Yet, if coach Haley had his druthers, the Wingers would be playing higher-level teams right now. As fun as it is for Schammel to make her classmates cheer with another hat trick, for Emily Stegora to add two more goals, for Reagan Haley to add to her team-leading 14 points or for Heise to find her scoring touch, it might be better for Red Wing to face teams that won’t let that happen so quickly.

But, that’s not in the cards for Red Wing.

“Candidly … I feel like I would like to play bigger, ranked double-A schools, it’s just been a challenge schedule-wise,” Haley said. “Us being a highly-ranked Class A team, it benefits us more than them. But we try to play the top Class A schools that we can and see where it takes us.”

Where the schedule will take the Wingers is to a Friday game against Prior Lake. The Lakers are 0-2 on the season after a 3-0 loss to Edina Tuesday night, and will face Burnsville Thursday before making the trip to Red Wing.

But no matter what happens, whether the routs continue, or the Wingers face a stiff test, Haley and his team will have goals, both kinds, in mind.

“We’d really like to make sure that we establish our second power-play unit at a high level,” Haley said. “And I’d like to see our transition game go a little bit quicker, make quicker decisions on the blue line and in the neutral zone so we can transition out.”

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Kyle Stevens
Kyle Stevens is a sports reporter for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, Kyle worked at the Owatonna People’s Press, as well as KWLM and KLFN in Willmar. You can contact Kyle by phone at (651) 301-7879, via e-mail at kstevens@republican-eagle.com, and follow him on Twitter @RE_KStevens.
(651) 301-7879
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