By Bob Kuehl
The Mound Westonka/Watertown-Mayer/Southwest Christian girls hockey team extended its season opening winning streak to seven games with a pair of wins on their northern overnight trip last Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, Nov. 30, the White Hawks traveled to Fergus Falls to take on the 14th-ranked Otters. It was an exciting and intense game from start to finish. Just 1:08 into the game, ninth-grader Kailey Niccum scored a nice goal, with assists going to sophomores Grace Peterson and Brooke Pioske. Six minutes later, senior Lauren Burris scored on a rebound, with assists to Niccum and Peterson.
The White Hawks were controlling play, but then a weird goal by the Otters changed the momentum of the game. They threw the puck out of the corner to the point and began a line change. But the puck hit a White Hawks skate and slowly made its way into the visitor’s net to make the score 2-1. It would stay that way into the intermission.
The second stanza was very even, with both teams having good scoring chances, only to see the goalies make great saves. The Otters tied the score with just over two minutes left in the second period. A shot from the left point went through five or six players and found the back of the net. Senior goalie Taylor Smith had no chance on the play.
The third period again went back and forth, with outstanding plays by both teams coming up just short. With just over seven minutes to play, senior Sydney Hules forechecked the puck away from an Otters defender, sending it toward the Otter net. The goalie misplayed the puck and it somehow found a way into the net, giving the White Hawks the lead. Just two minutes later, the Otters tied the game up when the visitors got caught in a long shift and allowed a shot from the slot to even up the score.
But the White Hawks weren’t done. Burris stole a free puck and muscled her way to the net with a great individual effort to bury the puck through the five hole and put the White Hawks up 4-3. From there the visitors played great team defense and didn’t allow the Otters to pull the goalie and won 4-3. Smith had 25 saves in goal.
After a long night at the hotel and traveling down to Sauk Centre the next morning, the White Hawks came out flying against Prairie Centre. They scored two goals in each period and outshot the home team 62 to 14.
First period goals were scored by senior Emily Schepers and sophomore Avery Finck. Hules and eighth-grader Sydney Leonard assisted on Schepers’ nice goal, and eighth-grader Gretta Pioske assisted on Finck’s goal. Second period goals were scored by Peterson, off of a great drop pass by Niccum (Burris also assisting on the play), and Pioske on a hard slap shot from the left boards, with assists going to Hules and Sydney Leonard. Shots were 23-3 White Hawks in the period. The final period of the road trip was the same, with 23 shots by the visitors and two more goals. Peterson got her second of the game, and then Burris finished the scoring.
With the wins, the No. 4-ranked White Hawks improved their record to 7-0. They have three games this week, beginning with Class AA conference opponent New Prague at home on Tuesday night, Dec. 4. On Thursday they travel down the road to take on rival Orono, and they return home to play St. Francis as part of a girls/boys hockey doubleheader. Come out and cheer on the White Hawks!