After holding off a late third-period surge by Rochester Century, the Red Wing girls' hockey team skated off with its first win in exactly a month. The 1-0 win for the Wingers on Tuesday kicked off an 8-game stretch to close out the regular season.
"To get the win just feels good. The girls have been working hard and we deserved a win," said Red Wing head coach Nicole Olson.
The Wingers would like to forget the last month. Since the team's last win on Dec. 7, the Wingers have gone 0-5-1. Olson said the girls came in determined and have continued to work hard in practices. Yet Olson also said a change was needed.
"We mixed lines up this week just based on the last couple losses, which have been pretty tough for us," Olson said. "We know are a better team and sometimes when you shuffle things it keeps girls on their toes."
The Wingers came out with three different forward lines. Brianna Beck centered Allison Roe and Tatum Zylka. Eighth grader Aftyen Bluhm centered Madison Synder and Jamie Chaska. The third forward line consisted of Alexis Pauzauskie, Ashlyn Hintz and Eliza DiNatale.
In spurts throughout the game, each line started a cycle in the offensive zone. Each line was also able to rush the puck through the neutral zone, which led to the Wingers outshooting Century 40-14.
The lone goal for the Wingers came in the second period. Since the Wingers last win on Dec. 7, the team has had trouble in the middle period. Opposing teams scored a combined 22 goals in the second period during the losing streak.
Against the Panthers, the Wingers completely dominated the second period. DiNatale snapped a loose puck just in front of the blue paint pasted Panther goalie Abigail Connors at 5 minutes, 53 seconds of the second. DiNatale's new linemate Pauzauskie and defenseman Allison Kruger assisted on the goal.
The Wingers had to work hard to hold off the Panthers in the final 2 minutes of the third. The Panthers pulled their goalie and made a push for the tying goal, coming close on three occasions with the puck loose in the paint and players scrambling in front of Winger goalie Hailey Ehlers.
Olson said the team would have liked a few more goals to ease some of the pressure for Ehlers who had to work hard to preserve the shutout.
"We talked about how tough that was for a goalie. Hailey saw less than (15) shots the whole game, which makes it incredibly hard for a goalie to stay in it mentally," Olson said. "She did and came up big for us."
Olson added, "the girls play better when they feel good about their play and getting a win tonight helps with that (moving forward)."