by Jason Olson
Scoring has been a struggle for Coon Rapids as they were shutout in four of the last five games.
The lone win, a 3-1 win over the Duluth Northern Lights Dec. 27 came in the middle game of the Abra Invitational at Braemar Arena in Edina.
The Cardinals were blanked at Blaine 4-0 Dec. 17 and 5-0 at Roseville Dec. 23. Coon Rapids opened the Edina tournament with a 6-0 loss to Lakeville South Dec. 26. The day after the win, Coon Rapids returned to its scoring woes as Irondale handed it a 3-0 shutout Dec. 27 as the Knights Samantha Donovan had a hat trick. Lakeville South’s Ari Reid completed her hat trick with 1:22 left in the second period.
Coon Rapids’ Jane Hannula ended the scoring drought 15:25 into the first period against Duluth. Brenna Paskey made it 2-0 for the Cardinals 1:20 into the second period and Michelle Harris scored a power play goal 13:04 into the final period for the third goal of the game with assists going to Addie Rust and Kate Fredrickson.
“It was a great team effort and we scored some nice goals off rebounds and an aggressive forecheck,” Coon Rapids coach Jessica Christopherson said. “We’ve been in a scoring drought the last couple games so it was good to break out of that.”
Coon Rapids goalie Ali Weber made 21 saves for the win. She made 22 saves in the loss to Irondale and 34 saves against Lakeville South.
• Fifth-ranked Anoka captured the Mid-Winter Meltdown tournament title in Eden Prairie following its 4-3 win over Chaska/Chanhassen Dec. 30.
The Tornadoes (12-1) began the tournament with a 3-0 win over Cloquet/Esko/Carlton before topping No. 11 ranked Eagan 3-1 in the semifinals.
“Those were three really good hockey teams and proved to be a good challenge for us,” Anoka coach Pete Hayes said as they took the New Year’s weekend off before returning to action against North Metro and Armstrong earlier this week.
Anoka ran its current winning streak to 10 games with a perfect 10-0 record in Decemeber as the top line of Emily Brigham, Katie Johnson and Blair Parent continued to propel the Tornadoes. Johnson had nine points (five goals), Brigham had eight points (six assists) and Blair Parent had seven points (four assists).
Anoka outshot the Lumberjills 28-18 as Tornadoes goalie Katie McLain recorded the shutout win.
Despite being out-shot 39-33 by the Eagan, it was Anoka who buried the puck including a four-point game from Johnson (two goals). Blair Parent scored twice and Brigham assisted twice as McLain was busy in turning away 37 shots in the semifinal.
“One we got those three back together four games ago, they’re as good as any line in the state,” Hayse said. “Team’s might be able to stop one of them but not the whole line.”
Anoka’s second line of McKenna Parent, Kayla McLauglin and Dani Peterson has provided some consistency and veteran varsity experience.
“They know their roles on the team and they each have the potennial to score,” Hayes said as they create match-up issues for the opposition after the top line takes to the bench. Special teams will be another area Anoka has plenty of firepower to use with the top line joined at times with McKenna Parent on the point and Peterson in the slot.
Anoka and Chaska/Chanhassen entered the third period tied 2-2. Johnson scored a power play goal at the 9:28 mark of the third period to make it 3-2. Five minutes later Anoka’s Amanda Kimmerle made it 4-2 with assists from Blair Parent and McLaughlin.
The Hawks made it 4-3 with four seconds left in the game as McLain had 22 saves.
• Eighth-ranked Blaine also took to the Eden Prairie ice for the Mid-Winter Meltdown and came away with a 1-2 record. The Bengals were shutout in back to back losses to No. 11 ranked Eagan (4-0) and Cloquet/Esko/Carlton (1-0) before handing North Metro a 2-1 loss Dec. 30.
North Metro, a Northwest Suburban Conference foe, took a 1-0 lead with a power play goal just 23 seconds into the second period. That lead stood for the next 11 minutes before Blaine’s Kiersten Falck tied it up with goal from Breanna Mahoney at the 11:02 mark of the period. The Blaine duo reversed its roles for the game winner, 8:41 into the third period as Falck found Mahoney for the winner.
Blaine controlled the puck and carried the pace of play as they outshot the Stars 46-17 for the game. The Bengals peppered North Metro goalie Lauren Torborg for 21 shots in the second period.
Blaine also outshot Cloquet 26-18 in the semifinals, but Eskimos Mackenzie Roy scored the lone goal of the game 7:50 into the third period.
Scott Darwitz’ Eagan squad outshot the Bengals 39-14, including a 17-1 margin in the third third period. The Wildcats Megan Wolfe had a hat trick while Bengals goalie Tara Hoverstad had 35 saves in the loss.
• St. Francis/North Branch took part in the Schwan Cup’s White Division Dec. 28-30 going 1-2.
The Fighting Saints lost to Badger Thunder (Wis.) 3-2 in the opener Dec. 28 before a 6-1 loss to Appleton (Wis.) Dec. 29. St. Francis rebounded with a 7-1 win over Fairmont to close out the tournament on a high note Dec. 30.
It was the first win of the season for St. Francis who began the season 0-12-0.
Saints Jessica St. Marie scored less than three minutes apart to give her team a 2-0 lead 7:36 into the contest. The offense set the tone for the afternoon as St. Francis added three more goals in the middle period by Erynn Downey, Kalley Wagner and Katie Sigfrinius.
Alexa Denney ad Emily Swanson scored 89 seconds apart late in the third period for the final score.
Saints goalie Dakotah Bullen made 12 saves for her first win of the season as the defense did a great job of containing the Cardinals offense.
• Spring Lake Park took a holiday road trip to the Austin Hotshots Tournament in southern Minnesota Dec. 26-28.
The Panthers had its first three-game winning streak of the season after losing six of its previous seven games and set multiple school records in an 18-0 blowout win over Windom Dec. 27.
The Panthers set new school records for most goals scored in one game while they didn’t give up a shot for another team record.
Spring Lake Park came from behind to down New Prague 5-3 in the opener Dec. 26 and finished the tournament with a 5-0 win over Minneapolis Novas in the championship game Dec. 28.
Panthers coach Tom Kulenkamp said the turning point for his club came in the first game against New Prague. “We had several players who had solid games,” he said while his team came back from a 3-2 deficit with three short handed goals in the third period including a goal from a 3-on-5 situation.
Kulenkamp said his squad played its best game of the season against Minneapolis.
“We played solid team defense, had excellent goaltending and we passed the puck well,” he said. “We moved the puck around on the power play and even though we didn’t score a power play goal, our power play helped tire them out and gave us good momentum in the game.
“We had outstanding team leadership from all four seniors – Karissa Thompson, Taylor Patterson, Miranda Mulvihill and Ana Benson and had several other outstanding individual performances.”
Spring Lake Park scored four times in the second period against the Novas, with two from Kim Patterson at 15:16 and 15:25. The final goal of the period from Kelly Morris came at 16:26.
Morris had three points after collecting six points (five assists) as Kelly had a hat trick and Miranda Mulvihill also had a hat trick and added an assist in the 18-0 blowout win over Windom which is a new program record for goals scored in one game. The Panthers outshot Windom 89-0, which is the first time the program has held another team without a shot.
Morris had 10 points in the tournament and played a huge role in the win over New Prague as she scored a shorthander 28 seconds after Thompson tied the game 1:15 into the third period. Morris’ goal proved to be the game-winner.
“She really had an outstanding tournament,” Kulenkamp said. “Kelly was a factor in all three games defending as well as on the attack.”
Spring Lake Park forward Mulvihill and freshman defenseman Allie Guzy were also named to the all-tournament team.
Panthers goalie Mackensay Kelly had 22 saves in for her second shutout of the season against the Novas.