Girls Hockey: Wingers surge past Waseca in section opener
Red Wing took care of business to open the Section 1A playoffs Wednesday. The top-seeded Wingers met little resistance from No. 8 seed Waseca as Red Wing scored four first-period goals – with three from Nicole Schammel – on the way to a 5-0 shutout at Prairie Island Arena.
“We controlled the game territorially,” said Wingers head coach Scott Haley. “We started off strong with four goals in the first, and we got a lot of kids in there getting playoff experience.”
The only player on the ice who wasn’t dealing with business as usual was sophomore forward Carley Marty. After first-line forward Reagan Haley left Monday’s regular-season finale against Tartan with a lower-body injury, Marty vaulted up from the third line to the top line.
“We didn’t want to disrupt our second line, we so put Carley at her normal position from the third line,” Scott Haley said.
So coming into the first playoff game paired with Schammel and Emily Stegora, Marty admitted she came onto the ice a little anxious against the Bluejays.
“I was a little nervous, but I think it went OK,” Marty said. “I tried my best.”
It wouldn’t take long for Marty to help with the Wingers’ scoring as she and Stegora each picked up an assist on Schammel’s first goal at the 5-minute, 26-second mark of the first period. Marty tallied another assist, along with Stegora, on another Schammel goal 55 seconds later.
And all the while, Marty’s confidence escalated.
“The more they pass it to you, the better. They make you play your best,” Marty said about playing with the top line. “It was way different being out there with (Schammel and Stegora), especially in terms of playing time.”
Coach Haley said that this season, the Wingers have gone deeper into their lineup than in his previous years as head coach. And as Marty has shown over the last game-and-a-half, that move has helped the team move forward almost uninterrupted.
“You do it and watch the growing pains sometimes, but you do it because of situations like this because kids need to step in,” Scott Haley said. “Even later in the game tonight, we put Stegora and Schammel on the shelf. In the older days, I don’t know if we could have done that, but the kids stepped in and kept control of the game.”
At 13:37, Schammel wrapped up her first-period hat trick, beating Bluejays goaltender Danni Dahms off a pass from Stegora to make it 3-0. Then with 25 seconds left in the period, Maddy Hardyman popped in a power-play goal off a pass from Schammel.
Red Wing’s final score came at 9:58 of the second when Schammel weaved through Waseca’s zone and snapped in an unassisted goal.
While the Wingers didn’t put in another goal, their attack was relentless on Wednesday as they outshot the Bluejays 54-8. Dahms had 49 saves, while Red Wing goalie Ashley Corcoran had eight saves for the shutout victory, her eighth of the season.
In the last three seasons, the Wingers have faced Waseca in their first three playoff games. In that span, Red Wing has outscored the Bluejays 27-1.
“It was really fun,” Marty said of Wednesday’s victory. “We just concentrated on taking it one step on a time.”
That next step comes against fourth-seeded Winona, which knocked off No. 5 Faribault 3-0 on Wednesday. Faceoff is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Prairie Island Arena.
In the section semifinal matchup, Red Wing is set to go against one of the top offensive players in Minnesota in Carly Moran. Moran leads the Winhawks with 47 goals, including three against the Falcons on Wednesday.
“The key will be having that nice home-ice advantage and matching that top line with (Moran),” Scott Haley said.