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Prep girls hockey: Grand opening for Luverne

LUVERNE -- Albert Lea may have just been the first of many teams to fall victim to Luverne's high-power senior tandem on the top line this season. Makayla Sterrett and Madisyn Dingmann were unstoppable in the Cardinals' season opener Tuesday. Ste...

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ZACH HACKER/DAILY GLOBE Luverne forward Madisyn Dingmann (23) breaks into a clearing with Albert Lea’s Maddy Carstens (8) trying to catch up Tuesday during the Cardinals’ 9-1 victory over the Tigers. Dingmann had a goal and five assists in the win.

LUVERNE - Albert Lea may have just been the first of many teams to fall victim to Luverne’s high-power senior tandem on the top line this season.
Makayla Sterrett and Madisyn Dingmann were unstoppable in the Cardinals’ season opener Tuesday. Sterrett finished the night with four goals and three assists while Dingmann had one goal while helping out on five others. That pushed the Cards to blowout 9-1 nonconference win over the Tigers.
“It starts with our connection off of the ice,” Sterrett said. “We’re good friends and we look out for each other. It’s like we can read each other’s brains. Me and Madisyn have been working together since we were in eighth grade.”
Luverne head coach Tony Sandbulte hopes Tuesday’s success can last throughout the season.
“They’re seniors and they know what we expect of them,” he said. “They played like seniors tonight.”
The Cardinals came up empty on a few scoring chances early before the senior duo hooked up for the first time shortly after the home team killed an Albert Lea power play.
Just a little more than five minutes remained in the opening period when Sterrett sent a quick pass out to Dingmann from behind the net. The Adrian High senior sent a laser past Tigers’ seventh-grade goalie Maddie Schneider to put her team on top 1-0.
“We were battling in the corner and I just saw her fly through the slot,” Sterrett said. “I hit her for the one-timer and she scored.”
It took only 16 seconds for Sterrett to increase the lead to 2-0. Her unassisted goal off of the faceoff set the score at 2-0 with one period in the books.
The second was when the Cardinals really took off. They notched five goals to carry a comfortable 7-0 lead into the final frame.
The first of those came on a power play. Just one minute, 22 seconds into the period Dingmann and Sterrett assisted on Mariah Aukes’ first of two goals on the evening. Six seconds later, Sterrett scored again with an assist from Dingmann.

“It starts with the faceoff,” Sterrett said. “Winning the faceoff is a big part of it. That keeps the momentum going.”
Three minutes hadn’t ticked by on the second period clock yet when the Cardinals extended their lead to 5-0. This time, Carly Serie got in on the action with a one-timer from about 20-feet out. Maddie Dinger and Dingmann assisted on that one.
“We got that first period under our belts and I thought we just looked more relaxed,” Sandbulte said. “We were ready. We played our game and we made some of the shots that we missed in the first period.”
Luverne made it a perfect 2-for-2 on power play chances when Sterrett completed the hat-trick off an assist from, who else, Dingmann. Twenty seconds later she added her fourth goal unassisted to put her team up 7-0 at the end of two.
Dingmann and Sterrett got involved in one more goal just 28 seconds into the third period. This time, they eventually sent the puck to Dinger, who smashed it in. Aukes added her second goal late with Regan Feit assisting.
On the other end of the ice, Cardinals sophomore Emilie Bartels nearly had a shutout. She stopped the first 20 shots sent her way. The Tigers didn’t score until there was only 50 seconds remaining after a defensive breakdown at the blue line helped Maddy Herrera get free for a one-on-one.
“She wanted the shutout, but overall it was a very strong performance,” Sandbulte said. "She made some key saves early.”

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