PREP GIRLS HOCKEY: Luverne shoots to hockey victory versus Windom AreaWINDOM – The Luverne Cardinals girls hockey team opened its season Thursday night with a 12-2 Southwest Conference victory over the Windom Area Eagles. It was just the way senior defenseman Katie Eeten wanted the season to start for the reigning conference champion Cardinals.
By: Lance Knutson, Worthington Daily Globe
WINDOM – The Luverne Cardinals girls hockey team opened its season Thursday night with a 12-2 Southwest Conference victory over the Windom Area Eagles.
It was just the way senior defenseman Katie Eeten wanted the season to start for the reigning conference champion Cardinals.
“We started off slow, but we came back and got into the swing of things,” Eeten said. “We’ve only had scrimmages so far. We are starting off with games now with the hopes of going after that conference championship again. We have to just keep working hard because all the games matter.”
Eeten was one of seven Luverne players to find the back of the net as the visitors outshot the hosts by a 45-6 margin in the contest.
Eighth-grade defenseman Morgan Hohn led the way for the Cardinals by netting a hat trick, while eighth-grade forward Monique Aanenson, freshman forward Makayla Sterrett and freshman forward Madisyn Dingmann each collected two goals.
“The younger girls are helping us a lot,” Eeten said. “They are great for our team, because it’s another line for us. It’s great to have three lines out there and we are able to get breaks when we need them.”
Luverne’s other two goals were scored by junior forward Kristen Reisdorfer and junior defenseman EllenDahl.
While it was Luverne’s offense that eventually wore down the Windom Area defense, it was the Eagles that capitalized on the visitor’s slow start.
Freshman center Kaylee Rosenkratz opened the game’s scoring two minutes and 14 seconds into the game when she directed the puck from along the boards, following an assist from Kaylee Jensen, at Cardinal netminder Kennedy Gonnerman (four saves). The puck slid past Gonnerman’s skates and the Eagles had a short-lived 1-0 lead.
“We started off really slow tonight,” Luverne head coach Nick Domagala said. “We’re still working on getting our lines and seeing what lines mesh well with each other.”
Facing the early deficit, the Cardinal attack quickly turned the tables on the hosts as Hohn scored her first goal with assists to Aanenson and Mariah Aukes with 12:13 left. Aanenson gave Luverne the lead for good with an unassisted goal 36 seconds later.
Dingmann netted her first goal with an Sterrett assist with 9:08 left in the first to give Luverne a 3-1 lead, but Windom Area cut the deficit back to one goal just over two minutes later when seventh-grader Porsha Porath scored the first goal of her varsity career with 6:28 remaining in the opening frame.
“I thought the goal that Porsha Porath got was great,” Eagles’ assistant head coach Nathan Boler said. “She hustled down into the zone, picked up the loose puck and fired it away. That’s what we need to do. It starts with shots. If you don’t shoot, you don’t score, so that’s where we need to start.”
That was the final goal scored by the hosts and the Cardinals responded quickly to the goal as Sterrett joined in on the scoring with a goal past Windom seventh-grade goalie Emily Steen (33 saves) with 6:06 remaining in the first period to make it 4-2.
Luverne, which won 43 of 54 faceoffs in the contest, closed out the opening frame with three goals in the final two minutes as Reisdorfer scored off of assists to Madilyn Oye and Dingmann with 1:52 left, while Hohn scored with an assist to Sterrett on a delayed penalty with 0:59 left and Sterrett added her second goal of the night with an assist to Reisdorfer on the power play with 0:50 remaining.
Luverne’s final two goals of the first period came as a result of a 5-minute major penalty to Windom Area that also allowed the Cardinals to capitalize late in the first and on into the second period.
“The girls came out fired up and ready to play,” Boler said. “They were ready to go. But that penalty late in the first period hurt us. With only four players out there, we had to make some adjustments and it messed with our game plan a little bit.”
Eeten scored on the power play 90 seconds into the second period with an assist to Aanenson to make it 8-2, while Dahl scored just before the major penalty on the Eagles expired with an assist to Dingmann with 13:27 left in the period.
Four minutes later, the Cardinals capped the game’s scoring with three goals in less than a minute. Dingmann lifted the score to 10-2 with an assist to Sterrett at the 9:32 mark, Hohn finished her hat trick with 9:23 left to make it 11-2 and Aanenson completed night’s scoring with an unassisted goal with 8:48 left in the second period.
While Luverne eventually ran away with the game, Domagala knows his team has areas where it can improve.
“It’s going to take a little bit of time to mix and match things together,” Domagala said. “We know that we can put the puck in the net, but the main thing is that we have play defense, too.”
Coach Boler was proud of how well his team played Thursday and hopes that the club can keep improving.
“One thing we keep talking about with the girls is that we need things to build off of,” Boler said. “Every game we have something to build off of and to improve on no matter what the scoreboard says. Getting that early lead was huge for momentum and gave us something to rally off of.
“I’m proud of the girls. Every day, we come to practice and we are skating harder and getting better. We plan on nothing but getting better and improving.”
Windom Area (0-2, 0-1) returns to action Nov. 29 when the Eagles host Marshall in a conference tilt.
Luverne (1-0, 1-0) hosts St. Peter on Saturday.
Luverne 7 5 0 – 12
Windom Area 2 0 0 – 2