Girls Hockey: Red Wing makes statement in section semifinalRed Wing’s top line didn’t want to come out of Saturday’s Section 1A semifinal game against Waseca.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
Red Wing’s top line didn’t want to come out of Saturday’s Section 1A semifinal game against Waseca.
The top-seeded Wingers were up big but Emily Stegora, Reagan Haley and Nicole Schammel knew they were close to doing something no Red Wing team had ever done: have three different players score three or more goals.
Red Wing head coach Scott Haley said he was prepared to sit his top line in the third period but the players convinced him to let them go for it.
And with little more than four minutes remaining in the third period, Stegora found the back of the net for her hat trick, meaning all three players scored at least three goals and at least seven points as the Wingers won 13-1 at Prairie Island Arena. Reagan Haley had a team-high eight points (three goals and five assists).
“The attitudes have been terrific,” Scott Haley said of Red Wing’s determination over the last two weeks. “It reminds me of those first couple weeks of the season. The season is long so it’s nice to see them find it again.”
In Saturday’s game, third-ranked (Class 1A) Red Wing found reason to get excited over and over.
Paige Haley, who finished with four points of her own, got the Wingers’ scoring started early with a goal 3 minutes, 16 seconds into the first period. She took a pass from Caitie Turcotte and strode wide open into the offensive zone before unleashing a wrist shot that hit the post, hopped into the air and bounced off the goalie before trickling into the net.
Two minutes later, Schammel scored the first of her four goals on a nifty deke and backhand up over the Waseca’s goaltender’s glove for a 2-0 lead. At the 9:59 mark, Reagan Haley forced a turnover in the Bluejay’s zone and passed the puck to Stegora who found Schammel for another backhand goal and a 3-0 Red Wing lead.
Red Wing continued to pour it on in the first period, getting power-play goals from Kayla Oberding and Reagan Haley to go up 5-0 before Maddy Knoll tallied Waseca’s lone goal on a shot deflected off Paige Haley’s stick and over Wingers’ goaltender Ashley Corcoran. Stegora added a breakaway goal with 49.4 seconds left in the period to send Red Wing into the first intermission ahead 6-1.
“We knew we had to come in with high intensity,” Stegora said. “We want to make a statement for Thursday (Section 1A final). We went out as hard as we could.”
And the Wingers didn’t stop as each member of the top line scored at least once in every period.
Stegora scored again 4:52 into the second period, Schammel notched a power-play goal at 14:54 and Reagan Haley put Red Wing up 9-1 with four seconds until the second intermission.
“It’s hard to know if it helps or hurts you,” Scott Haley said of winning handily Saturday. “It gives the girls a lot of confidence so that’s a positive. … I saw a lot of good stuff. The passing at times was spectacular.”
In the final period, Schammel scored first, Reagan Haley notched another power-play goal and Stegora got her hat trick to extend the Wingers’ lead to 12-1.
Maddy Hardyman contributed Red Wing’s final goal 14:57 into the third period with an assist to Paige Haley.
The entire third period was played under running time and the Wingers managed to put 66 shots on goal in the victory, going 4-for-4 on the power play.
Next up, Red Wing will get a chance to avenge its Jan. 15 loss to New Prague. The eighth-ranked (1A) Trojans defeated 14th-ranked (1A) Northfield 5-2 Saturday night in New Prague to reach the Section 1A finale.
“Oh yea, we definitely are (looking forward to it),” Stegora said of facing the Trojans. “We know they’re coming after us and we just need to play as well as we can.”
Since the Wingers’ 4-3 loss to New Prague, their offense has been on fire. Red Wing sports a 47-6 goal differential in the last six games.
“New Prague’s a good squad, we respect them,” Scott Haley said. “In some respects, that loss … it’s almost like they woke up a sleeping giant. I feel like we’ve been playing some of our best hockey since that loss.”
The Section 1A championship game begins at 5 p.m. in Owatonna.