Wingers can't recapture magicInstead of rallying again at the end, Red Wing collapsed. The Wingers conceded two more goals in the next 3:11 and lost 5-2 at Xcel Energy Center.
By: Ryan Nilsson, The Republican Eagle
Click here to view a postgame video interview with Cori Fairbanks and Annie Gorman.
ST. PAUL -- Amanda Arbogast scored at 11:54 of the final period Wednesday to give Eveleth-Gilbert a one-goal lead, but Red Wing coach Scott Haley was not fazed.
His team had already come back from a one-goal deficit on two occasions against the Golden Bears, who were the No. 4 seed. Haley said after the game that in the goal’s aftermath he was contemplating when to use his timeout and pulling the goalie.
He said the game reminded him of Red Wing’s 2009 quarterfinal game against Fergus Falls in which the Wingers scored the game-winning goal with 51 seconds remaining in regulation.
Instead of rallying again at the end, Red Wing collapsed. The Wingers conceded two more goals in the next 3:11 and lost 5-2 at Xcel Energy Center. The Wingers were bounced to the consolation bracket and play again at noon today against Alexandria. That game will be played at Ridder Arena.
“It surprised me a little bit because this team’s persevered,” Haley said. “We’ve come back pretty well. Yeah, I was taken aback by how we crumbled a little bit there.”
Eveleth-Gilbert’s Katie Kingston scored at 13:51 of the third period on a wraparound to push her team’s lead to 4-2. By extending their lead to two goals, the Golden Bears broke the Wingers’ resolve.
“After they got the fourth goal we kind of had given up,” Red Wing senior captain Annie Gorman said.
Amy Rice concluded the scoring at 15:05 of the third on an opportunistic goal. The puck deflected to her in front of the crease and she buried it.
Junior Lisa Nibbe made several big saves in goal for the Wingers and turned away 24 shots, but she suffered the loss
While a lack of belief cost the Wingers at the end, it was penalties that hurt them early in the game. The Golden Bears converted on 2 of 5 power plays.
“We had to stay out of the box,” Haley said. “I feel like I’ve been saying that for three weeks now and they keep going back to the box. … We need to stay out of the box just because we burn so much energy and fuel killing penalties.”
They didn’t expend much on the first penalty kill.
Just seven seconds after Red Wing defenseman Hailee Johnson went to the penalty box for high sticking, Kayla Moe opened the scoring by knocking in the puck at the near pipe. Arbogast set up the goal, which came at 6:50 of the first period.
Gorman came up big again when she evened the score at 13:32 of the first period. Gorman, a forward, slotted the puck past Golden Bears goalie Vicky Fossland from close range to even the score at one.
Gorman has just six goals of the season; however, she also scored the game-winning goal in the section tournament.
Johnson went to the box again at 12:03 of the second period and once more the Golden Bears capitalized in short order. This time they scored 15 seconds into the power play. Kaylen Erchul centered the puck to a wide-open Arbogast in front of the goal and she buried it.
Emily Stegora tied it back up at 15:32 of the same period. The freshman forward took a pass from Cori Fairbanks and fired a shot from a sharp angle past Fossland.
Red Wing’s final goal showcased teamwork, but there wasn’t enough of it, according to Gorman. Players didn’t have the right mindset either, Fairbanks said.
“When some people on our team get down on themselves I feel like we all do,” Fairbanks said.