Girls Hockey: Red Wing headed back to stateOWATONNA - The last time third-ranked (1A) Red Wing saw No. 8 New Prague, the Trojans were celebrating in a dog pile after defeating the Wingers at Prairie Island Arena in Red Wing.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
OWATONNA - The last time third-ranked (1A) Red Wing saw No. 8 New Prague, the Trojans were celebrating in a dog pile after defeating the Wingers at Prairie Island Arena in Red Wing.
Red Wing kept that image in the forefront leading up to the Section 1A title game Thursday at the Four Seasons Centre.
“We’ve definitely been talking about it,” Red Wing senior Paige Haley said. “We knew we had to put every ounce of effort into this one.”
Once the game began, the top-seeded Wingers quickly erased the memory, outplaying second-seeded New Prague in every facet Thursday in a 9-1 victory.
The win secured Red Wing’s third straight trip to the Class 1A girls state hockey tournament.
“If I had to dream it up, that’s how I would dream it,” said Wingers’ head coach Scott Haley. “Mentally, if we’d had a tight game, it would have been harder for us and easier for them. We had to let them know we were the better club.”
Red Wing (25-2) scored four goals in the first period and put the game away for good with four more goals in the third period.
“We stuck that dagger in and kept twisting,” Paige Haley said.
The Wingers’ first line of Schammel, Emily Stegora and Reagan Haley accounted for eight goals and 10 assists, with Schammel, the state's leading scorer, tallying four goals and three assists. Stegora notched three goals and two assists, and Regan Haley added a goal and five assists. Senior defenseman Paige Haley popped in an unassisted goal in the second period.
After losing to New Prague (20-7-1) on Jan. 15, Scott Haley moved Schammel to wing and made Reagan Haley the center. While Schammel was already the state’s leading scorer, her stats actually increased as she has averaged nearly six points per game in the last seven games. The Wingers have also outscored opponents 56-7 since the loss.
“I think it’s allowed Nicole to do what’s she’s made to do,” Scott Haley said. “Reagan’s speed helped us out defensively. It’s made us a better team.”
Red Wing’s first line took over from the first minutes Thursday as Schammel scored just 1 minute, 38 seconds into the game on a one-timer from Stegora.
“Getting that first one really got our confidence going,” Schammel said.
Schammel struck again at the 6:13 mark, taking advantage of a turnover by the Trojans and depositing it in the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Stegora added a rebound goal 20 seconds later to give the Wingers a 3-0 lead and all of the momentum. It was at that point when Schammel said she felt Red Wing had the win wrapped up as New Prague called a timeout. The Trojans were reeling and the Wingers were keeping the pressure up.
“We had them right where we wanted them,” she said.
New Prague’s Marissa Kivi committed a tripping penalty with 7:46 remaining in the first and Red Wing jumped on the opportunity. Schammel netted a hat trick in the first period with the power-play goal at 10:46 to send the Wingers into the first intermission with a 4-0 lead.
The Trojans struck first in the second period, getting their only goal of the game by Lindsay Paschke with 1:12 left. Any momentum New Prague had was killed as Paige Haley responded with an unassisted goal at 1:00 for a 5-1 Red Wing lead.
“It doesn’t matter who scored it but that goal was pretty crucial for how we were feeling going into the last period,” Paige Haley said.
In the final period, the Wingers’ top line dominated again, racking up four goals and forcing the game into running time. Red Wing outshot the Trojans 14-3 in the third period.
The offense was the story Thursday but Red Wing goaltender Ashley Corcoran stopped 15 of 16 shots in the Wingers’ victory.
Next week’s Class 1A girls state hockey tournament will be Red Wing’s fourth in the last five years. In the past, the Wingers went into the tourney happy to qualify but not feeling like a top team in the state. This season, one that saw Red Wing ranked as high as second, the Wingers’ players and coaches feel they stack up with the best.
“We can sell that case to the kids and I think they know it,” Scott Haley said. “This team has a real shot at doing something.”
“We’ve made a lot of history already, why not keep going,” Paige Haley added. “I think we can expect great things but we have to take it game by game.”
Class 1A state competition begins Wednesday at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
-- Joe Brown contributed to this report.
New Prague 0 1 0—1
Red Wing 4 1 4—9
First Period: 1. RW, Nicole Schammel (Emily Stegora), 1:38. 2. RW, Schammel, 6:13. 3. Emily Stegora (Schammel, Reagan Haley), 6:33. 4. RW, Schammel (Paige Haley, R. Haley), 10:46 (PP). Penalties: Marissa Kivi, NP (tripping), 9:14. P. Haley, RW (roughing), 12:35.
Second Period: 5. NP, Lindsay Paschke, 15:48. 6. RW, P. Haley, 16:00. Penalties: Hailee Johnson, RW (slashing), 1:03. Johnson, RW (interference), 7:59. Kayla Oberding, RW (hooking), 13:44. R. Haley, RW (interference), 16:08. Paschke, NP (hooking), 16:49.
Third Period: 6. RW, Stegora (Schammel, R. Haley), 2:51. 7. RW, Stegora (Schammel, R. Haley), 4:27. 8. RW, R. Haley (Stegora), 6:02. 9. RW, Schammel (R. Haley, P. Haley), 12:54. Penalties: None.
Shots on goal: New Prague 7-6-3—16. Red Wing 15-6-14—35.
Power-play opportunities: New Prague 0 of 5. Red Wing 1 of 2.
Goalies: NP, Sophie Puente (35 shots-26 saves). RW, Ashley Corcoran (16 shots-15 saves).