Girls Hockey: Red Wing storms out of the gate against MayoRed Wing’s top line is flashy and quite possibly the best in the state. During Saturday’s season opener, the Wingers’ talent was on full display.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing’s top line is flashy and quite possibly the best in the state. During Saturday’s season opener, the Wingers’ talent was on full display.
Red Wing scored 34 seconds into the game and didn’t slow down in a 10-1 thrashing of defending Big Nine Conference champion Rochester Mayo at the Prairie Island Arena in Red Wing. Red Wing’s top line of Nicole Schammel, Reagan Haley and Emily Stegora, along with top defenseman Paige Haley, accounted for eight goals and nine assists in the victory.
“If they move the puck like that I don’t know if there’d be a better top line in the state,” Red Wing head coach Scott Haley said. “I thought they did a good job possessing the puck and moving the puck.”
The victory was the first to open a season in Scott Haley’s tenure as head coach but Mayo wasn’t expected to be an easy opponent after going 14-1-1 in conference play last season and being seeded third in Section 1AA behind Lakeville North and South.
Yet the Wingers were too much for the Spartans from the outset as Red Wing led 4-0 at the end of the first period.
“We’re a team that doesn’t take anything for granted,” Paige Haley said of starting the season with an emphatic victory. “I’ve never been part of a team this good. I’m lucky to have this opportunity in my senior year.”
Schammel, who finished with three goals and one assist, tallied her first goal of the season 34 seconds into regulation, deflecting the puck over the goalie’s shoulder on a shot by Paige Haley. Schammel led Red Wing with 50 goals scored in 30 games last season.
She scored again 5 minutes, 1 second into the first period with an assist to Stegora. Barely more than a minute later, Stegora netted an unassisted goal to put the Wingers ahead 3-0 just 6:19 into the game.
With 5.7 seconds remaining in the opening period, Reagan Haley settled a bouncing puck directly in front of Mayo’s goalie and tucked it under the crossbar to start the rout. Schammel and Stegora got the assists as Stegora finished with a goal and four assists.
Paige Haley kept the pressure on with two goals in the second period, sandwiched around the first goal of seventh-grader Taylor Heise’s varsity career at 11:18 of the second period to give Red Wing a 6-0 lead.
Normally, Scott Haley said he doesn’t like to promote a player to varsity at such a young age -- Heise is still eligible to play U12 hockey -- but this is a unique case, evidenced by Heise’s two goals in her varsity debut
“You can tell she’s a pretty special player,” Scott said. “She can play at this level.”
The Wingers led 7-0 at the end of the second period.
Mayo finally got on the scoreboard 28 seconds into the third period when a loose puck got away from Red Wing’s goalie and the Spartans’ Kali Aldrich tapped it into the net for a 7-1 deficit.
But the Wingers weren’t done as Paige Haley, Schammel and Heise all scored on the power play in the final period, the last one by Heise at 10:11 with an assist to Paige Haley. Haley scored three times and finished with four assists in the win.
Despite the top line taking up the spotlight Saturday night, Scott Haley said he’s never coached a team with more depth.
“The best we’ve had,” he said. “Usually we fell off after (the second line). We’re able to put out a balanced second and third line … which we’ve never had before.”
Next up, Red Wing, ranked fifth in the Class 1A preseason coaches association poll, hosts eighth-ranked Chisago Lakes at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Prairie Island Arena. The game will provide an early test for the Wingers after Saturday’s dominant performance.
“I’m looking forward to see what our team can do,” Paige Haley said of the season. “This team is going places. It’s only going to go up from here. (Saturday’s win) was a great way to start the season.”