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Luverne shows off girls hockey depth in Windom

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Luverne Cardinals Anika Boll (back showing), Mallory Nelson (facing camera) and Morgan Ahrendt (trailing) celebrate the Cardinals' third goal against the Windom Eagles Thursday night. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

WINDOM -- Luverne Cardinals girls hockey coach Tony Sandbulte pointed out Thursday night that freshman Kamryn Van Batavia is the team’s go-to player for offense.

“With that being said, I like our depth,” he added.

The Cardinals’ depth was plainly evident in Thursday’s 12-2 victory over host Windom Area. Five Luverne players -- senior Claire Baustian, juniors Shelby Kracht and Rylee Gee, sophomore Billi Connell and Van Batavia -- scored two goals each, and single goals were put in by eighth-grader Anika Boll and junior Roz Oye.

With that being said, Sandbulte didn’t think his team really found its rhythm until the second period.

“I think early on we were kind of fighting the puck (not consistently keeping control of it). But once that second period got under way, we started moving our legs and played better with each other,” he said.

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Luverne outscored a young Windom Area team 4-1 in the first period, with Kracht, Baustian, Boll and Van Batavia finding net. In the second period, the pucks went in early and in bunches.

Only 18 seconds elapsed in the second period before Connell scored on a left-handed wrist shot from 16 feet away into the upper left side of the Windom net. Gee scored her first goal 52 seconds after that. Four minutes later, with 11:51 showing on the game clock, it was Van Batavia. At 9:57 it was Connell’s turn, and at 9:36 it was Gee.

Finally, at the 3:10 mark Baustian rattled the post and scored on the ricochet as Luverne increased its lead to 10-1.

Kracht and Oye scored in the third for a 12-1 Luverne advantage.

Looking ahead to the rest of the season, Sandbulte said his team needs to improve on puck possession, but the defense shows promise.

“We do defend well,” he said. “And we work well from within our zone.

Windom Area has only one senior on its team, and that is wing Abby Ignaszewski. It was Ignaszewski who scored the Eagles’ first goal, coming with 3:04 remaining in the first quarter on assists from Miranda Cory and Elly Bang. The Eagles scored the game’s final goal as eighth-grader Madyson Fredin trickled the puck in low.

WAHS (0-3) has three juniors, one sophomore, three freshmen and seven eighth-graders on the varsity roster. This season figures to be a learning year.

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As for the Cardinals, said Sandbulte, “We want to be competitive. We feel we can play with a lot of teams. If we clean some things up, we think we can give ourselves a chance to do some fun things this year.”

Luverne 4 6 2 -- 12

Windom Area 1 0 1 -- 2

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The Windom Area Eagles' Miranda Cory (4) skates on a fast break while pursued by (left to right) Luverne's Mallory Nelson, Morgan Ahrendt, Anika Boll and Brynn Thier. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

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