Wayzata scored four times in the third period to pull away from Anoka for a 6-2 win in the girls’ hockey season opener for both teams at the Anoka Area Ice Arena Nov. 7.
“It’s too bad because the paper [Friday] will say a 6-2 but I don’t think it was a 6-2 game,” Anoka Coach Pete Hayes said. “Our girls gave a great effort… They played a little more desperate than we did. They’re big-timers came through and we ran out of gas a little bit.”
Young players will have to contribute for Anoka to collect wins this season. Two freshman forwards, Gabrielle Horsch and Brenah Sarell left their marks on the score sheet.
“We gave them everything they wanted through the first two periods so we’re happy with that, just not the third [period],” Hayes said.
Anoka is a young team with only two seniors on the roster in forward Blair Parent and defenseman Amanda Kimmerle.
Parent tied the game with 2:16 left in the second period, but the more experienced Trojans piled on the offense in the final period for the disappointing start for Anoka fans.
While Parent and Kimmerle played key roles in both Anoka goals, they also put the home team in a tough position early.
Parent took a cross checking penalty 43 seconds into the contest. Less than a minute before Parent took her penalty, Kimmerle tied up Wayzata’s leading scorer from last season, Kaitlyn Klein (30 points, 19 goals and five game winners), in front of the Tornadoes goal to draw a holding penalty.
“They’ve just got to be smarter,” Hayes said. “They’re going to get hacked all year long and people are going to go after them but they just have to keep their temper and play good, solid hockey because we can’t afford them to be in the penalty box. We really need them on the ice.”
Wayzata was two-for-five on the power play while Anoka couldn’t match that production going zero-for-six including its own five-on-three chance for 1:33 in the early moments of the second period.
Klein scored first for Wayzata at the 11:54 mark of the first period on a two-man power play with help from Wisconsin-bound junior defenseman Sophia Shaver (29 points, 19 goals). Shaver added a goal and assist to give her three points. Klein also had three points with two goals and one assist.
Just over four minutes after Wayzata scored first, Parent settled in the right corner of the Trojans end of the rink looking for the perfect time for a centering pass. She hit Sarell Brenah in stride from her left defense position and she snapped a wrister through traffic for the equalizer with 57 seconds left in the first period.
A similar situation emerged in the second period with Wayzata’s Rebecca Senden snapping a wrist shot past Anoka sophomore goalie Molly Scarborough at 6:22 on the power play. Scarborough made 24 saves and kept the Tornadoes in the game through the first 34 minutes with point-blank saves.
Hayes said the score wasn’t indicative of her performance. “We’re only eight days into the season,” he said. “We expect her to play well.”
Kimmerle echoed Hayes’ thoughts. “She’s stepping up to the plate and doing her job,” Kimmerle said. “She kept us in the game.”
Wayzata goalie McKenna Lorenz had 26 saves.
Parent tied the game at 2-2 at the 14:44 mark with a nifty roof shot after Kimmerle’s shot from the point was turned away.
Shaver broke the game open with a wrister at the 5:00 mark in what proved to be the game-winner. Three minutes later Klein buried a shot off the face-off to make it 4-2.
Wayzata coach Becky Wacker said they allow the center to take a chance on a shot if the situation arises on a faceoff. “We have some smart hockey players and we give them leeway with what they want to do and set the foundation for our face off in general and let them call it,” she said.
Despite a flurry of action around the Wayzata goal, the Trojans made it 5-2, five seconds into its fifth power play chance at 11:24 of the final period.
Wayzata added a shorthander from Sophie Leininger made the final score 6-2 with 2:10 left.
Wacker said while the team has a solid core of returners, the first-year varsity players took some time to get acclimated to the pace of a varsity game.
“I think they came out in the third period a lot more confident and felt like they had their legs under them,” she said.
Parent is coming off a 41-point season (21 goals) and tried her best to generate scoring chances. She led end-to-end rushes, weaving through the Trojans with suburb skills. She set up several scoring chances by patiently waiting for teammates to break free of the defense or simply took on the defensemen.
Kimmerle solidifies Anoka’s blue line with a calming presence to clear the puck from danger on defense or send a shot from the point on offense.
Kimmerle ran the point on the power play and Parent played an intermediate role walking the puck along the side boards from blue line to goal line looking for the right chance to break in on the net.
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