Girls Hockey: Red Wing takes top spot in Missota standings
It was gut check time for Red Wing.
Down 2-1 to Chaska/Chanhassen after the first period Thursday, the Wingers were getting outhustled, they were outshot 8-3 and the Storm Hawks’ physicality was overbearing.
But when Chaska/Chanhassen’s aggressiveness worked against them, the power play provided the boost Red Wing desperately needed. Sparked by four power-play goals in the second period, the Wingers battled back and avenged its lone Missota Conference loss with a 7-3 victory at Prairie Island Arena.
“We just needed to match their level and compete,” said senior forward Nicole Schammel, who finished with three goals and three assists. “We knew they were outworking us and I think the second period, we got a few bounces that in the first period we didn’t.
“Once we got those few bounces, got on the power-play and took control of the play a little bit more, we started out-competing them and getting that passion back.”
Now at 14-6 overall and 7-1 in conference play, Red Wing is in the driver’s seat in the Missota with two conference games remaining.
“We saw some great things tonight. (Chaska/Chanhassen) was a quality team,” said Wingers’ head coach Scott Haley. “We got two more conference games and now we control our own destiny, which is key for us.”
Early on, it looked like Red Wing’s chances to take the conference lead were spiraling out of control in a hurry. In the first four minutes of the game, the Storm Hawks’ Lydia Passolt scored a pair of goals. In between the goals, Wingers forward Maddy Hardyman was hurt, requiring help on the ice before leaving under her own power.
“Us captains and coaches on the bench were saying, ‘Lot of time left, don’t keep your head down, we’ll come back,’” Schammel said.
The lone bright spot in the first period came from Emily Stegora, who blasted a one-timer past Chaska/Chanhassen goaltender Carly Van Orden for a power-play goal.
After the Storm Hawks dominated the first period, Red Wing desperately needed to lift itself out of its slump.
“Our energy was up in the second, and we decided that we had to beat them,” Wingers’ forward Katelyn Hadler said.
With Passolt in the penalty box for a checking penalty early in the second, Schammel punched in her first goal of the night to tie it at 2-2. Twenty-three seconds later, Carley Marty and Kayla Oberding got the puck to Hadler, who changed the momentum of the game with a low wrist shot that put Red Wing up 3-2.
“Those goals to put you up one or two, those are the exciting ones,” Hadler said. “It gets everyone excited and gets us pumped up to get more.”
Haley added, “That goal by Hadler was key because the girls get excited when the blue line picks up a goal like that. The kids really fed off of that in the second period.”
Meanwhile, the Storm Hawks continued to get penalized and Red Wing continued to put the puck in the net. Stegora, Oberding and Schammel each scored power-play goals in the second. Schammel put in all three of her goals in the second, including the final one with a second remaining before intermission.
The Wingers converted on its first five power-play opportunities. Just as important, Red Wing had only three penalties for six minutes, compared to eight penalties for 16 minutes for Chaska/Chanhassen (13-6-1, 7-2 Missota).
“We talked a lot about winning the special teams battle tonight and staying out of the box and let them go in there,” Haley said. “We knew their kill was pretty soft, and it worked out great.”
Stegora finished the game with two goals and two assists, and Reagan Haley had a pair of helpers in the Wingers’ victory. After a shaky start to the game, Red Wing goalie Ashley Corcoran hunkered down in the second and third periods, finishing the game with 31 saves.
With the win, Red Wing avenged its 5-4 loss to Chaska/Chanhassen back on Dec. 12.
“I told the kids watching the film from the first game against Chaska/Chanhassen that we’re a completely different team now. We’re doing things now we didn’t do early on,” Scott Haley said. “We’re playing our best hockey right now and I think we got our rotations figured out.”
The fourth-ranked (1A) Wingers are in prime position for the final Missota Conference championship, but there is still some work to do in the final four games of the regular season, including next Thursday’s home game against Farmington.
“It feels good to win, but the job isn’t finished yet,” Schammel said.