Red Wing turned in a dominant performance Saturday night, ending their five-game skid with a 6-1 win over Winona. The win marked the Wingers second of the season — both coming against the Winhawks. It also marked the first time the Wingers scored more than one goal in a game in nearly a month.
Although the blowout win certainly looks great on paper, expectations of the Wingers suddenly becoming a powerhouse need to be tempered somewhat. Winona has only scored four goals in its 10 games this season and two of those came against Red Wing. All that being said though, a win is a win and Red Wing will take as many as it can to get some momentum building once section playoffs roll around.
Red Wing head girls’ hockey coach Nicole Olson echoed that sentiment after the game.
“It feels good to get a win but we need to keep working,” she said. “We got better competition coming our way and we know we got to play better hockey.”
Quality opponents are next up on Red Wing’s schedule, but it wouldn’t be a complete shock to see the Wingers win two of their next three games, if not all of them. Red Wing travels to Austin on Thursday and then follow up with games against Mankato West and Rochester Mayo — two teams tied in the conference standings with the Wingers. If Saturday night’s game was any indication of how the Wingers could play, then they should certainly be a competitive team over the next couple of weeks.
On Saturday, the Wingers forced Winona goalie Aliya Gricius into making 55 save attempts, in which she stopped all but six. Red Wing got their first goal of the game off Tatum Zylka’s stick just five minutes into the first period. Allison Roe added another goal three minutes later, assisted by Zylka, and then Zylka struck again for her second goal with seven minutes to play in the first period. Nora Meyer assisted on Zylka’s second goal.
Winona settled in during the second period and was only outshot 17-6, but Red Wing notched another goal when Scout Copeland scored while she was down on the ice during a power play. Assists on the goal went to Zylka and Roe.
“I really didn’t notice I scored until people came up to me,” Copeland said. “Beating this team before, there was definitely a feeling of we can’t let up and just expect to get through. We had to put in the work and effort to move forward.”
Heading into the third period, Red Wing scored two quick goals in the first three minutes of play. Roe scored on the power play, assisted by Copeland and Allison Kruger, then Zylka recorded the hat trick with the assists going to Copeland and Roe.
Winona scored its lone goal one minute, 11 seconds after Red Wing’s final goal.
“Those are my favorite types of games, all the opportunities — we tried to get as many to score as we could that haven’t yet and it was really exciting,” Copeland said.
Zylka had a five-point game to lead the Wingers, followed by Roe with four points and Copeland with three. Copeland’s goal was her first of the season, while Meyer’s assist was her first point of the year. Zylka has scored seven goals on the year — six of them came against Winona. Roe, who has scored a goal in every game Red Wing hasn’t been shut out, is tied for the team lead in goal with seven.
Leigha Kitzmann made 19-of-20 saves for a .950 save percentage.
Red Wing, 2-6, is next scheduled to travel to Austin on Thursday.