Wingers light the lamp against ShakopeeRed Wing head coach Scott Haley usually refrains from stacking his top line but this season the players are rewarding his decision with elite performances
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing head coach Scott Haley usually refrains from stacking his top line but this season the players are rewarding his decision with elite performances.
The Wingers (2-1) No. 1 line of freshman Reagan Haley, sophomore Emily Stegora and sophomore Nicole Schammel played a part in all seven goals for Red Wing in a 7-4 victory Tuesday against Shakopee in Red Wing.
The group also accounted for five of seven goals against Hastings last week. Junior defenseman Paige Haley combined with the Wingers’ first line and scored a hat trick in the win.
“We’ve played together since we were 12,” Paige Haley said of the chemistry between her and the first line. “It’s a huge advantage coming up together.”
Red wing’s potent offense allowed it to overcome another sluggish start. It was the Wingers’ third straight game giving up two or more goals in the first period.
“We’re just starting slow,” Scott Haley said. “We played considerably better in the second half of the game.”
Despite the early game troubles, the Wingers continue to make adjustments and support each other, Paige Haley said. Some of the underclassmen needed time to work out the jitters associated with the first home game of the year, she said.
“We were a little lazy in the first period,” Paige Haley said. “We definitely pulled together after the first. We played like a team.”
Stegora scored the opening goal 4 minutes, 6 seconds into the game with the assist going to Reagan Haley. The Sabers responded with two goals of their own before Paige Haley scored a power play goal on a slap shot from the point to tie the game at two going into the first intermission.
Shakopee scored first in the second period on a goal by Menke and the Wingers and Sabers traded goals until Paige Haley scored her third goal of the game on another power play to put Red Wing up 5-4. The Wingers led the rest of the way, getting a shorthanded goal from Schammel to end the second period and a power play goal from Stegora in the third.
Senior co-captain Elle Anderson left the game with an injured wrist at the end of the second period and was taken to the hospital for x-rays, Scott Haley said.
Senior goalie Lisa Nibbe made 23 saves and kept the Sabers scoreless for 25 minutes in the second and third periods. Scott Haley said Nibbe played well in net but her first period performances, just like the rest of the team, need to pick up.
“We’ve got to get her going a little earlier,” he said.
Two of Nibbe’s 23 saves were especially crucial for Red Wing, both coming on break-away opportunities for Shakopee’s Amy Menke, whom Scott Haley said is a sure fire Division I prospect.
“Lisa played solid in net,” Paige Haley said. “If I didn’t have Lisa, I wouldn’t be able to take risks. I feel confident having her back there.”
Stegora finished with two goals and an assist while Schammel led all scorers with two goals and three assists. Reagan Haley contributed three assists.
While the top line continues to put up big numbers, senior Cori Fairbanks is doing the dirty work necessary to keep Red Wing in games. Her penalty killing ability and willingness to play on any line gives the Wingers an opportunity to stack the first line, Scott Haley said. She kept Red Wing in the game early against Shakopee, he said.
“In the first period, I thought she was the only one bringing it,” Scott Haley said. “She is a high energy player. She’s got a big engine.”
Next up for Red Wing is a home game Friday against Totino-Grace in Red Wing.