By Bob Kuehl
The Mound Westonka/Watertown-Mayer/Southwest Christian girls hockey team returned to play after the lengthy holiday break and tied Delano 3-3 on Jan. 4 at Thaler Arena. A large crowd was on hand to watch the back-and-forth game between two of the top contenders in Section 2A.
The White Hawks struck first, scoring on the first shift of the game. Eighth-grader Sydney Leonard brought the puck into the Tiger zone and put a low shot on net that bounced out to senior Emily Schepers, who backhanded the rebound into the net. Only 34 seconds had elapsed.
The game was tied with just three and a half minutes left in the period when the Tigers scored a power play goal after the White Hawks had had two chances to clear the puck out of the zone. The teams would head off the ice for the first intermission tied 1-1, with the Tigers outshooting the home team 10-9.
The second period would only see one goal scored, as a bad-angle long shot eluded White Hawks senior goalie Taylor Smith. Shots for the period favored the White Hawks, who just missed on a number of scoring chances. It set up for a fantastic third period and overtime.
The White Hawks tied the game 2-2 when senior Lauren Burris flipped the puck over the Delano goalie’s right shoulder. The White Hawks continued to pepper the visitors’ net but couldn’t take the lead.
With just over eight minutes to play, a White Hawks defender threw the puck up to the point person for the Tigers, who took a low shot that deflected off either a skate or stick and got by Smith to give Delano a 3-2 lead. The White Hawks then frantically attacked the Tiger zone. With four minutes left in the game, ninth-grader Kailey Niccum tipped a passed puck into the neutral zone that sophomore Grace Peterson picked up and streaked down into the Tiger zone. Peterson slipped the puck under the goalie to tie up the score and send the crowd into a frenzy.
However, despite more pressure by the White Hawks, both in the final minutes of regulation and in overtime, they couldn’t break the 3-3 tie. The winner of the Hard Hat Award for the game was Grace Peterson, who had a goal and an assist and was flawless defensively as well.
The White Hawks’ record sits at 14-0-2 as they travel to Waconia and New Prague this week for two more Wright County Conference games. On Tuesday, Jan. 15, they will return home to play rival Orono.