By Derek Simon [email protected] The Hastings Raiders girls hockey team had a rough start to the season. Hastings had a brutal schedule to open the season and despite battling hard, the Raiders …
By Derek Simon
The Hastings Raiders girls hockey team had a rough start to the season. Hastings had a brutal schedule to open the season and despite battling hard, the Raiders ended January with an 0-5 record. February has been much more kind to Hastings as they entered Tuesday’s non-conference game at Bloomington Jefferson with a 3-1 record this month. Hastings holds an overall mark of 3-6, 2-4 in Metro East play. The Jaguars entered the game with a 1-5-3 record. Both teams had played against Holy Angels and against Simley. Holy Angels defeated the Raiders 3-0 and the Jaguars 3-1. The Raiders lost to Simley 3-1, while the Jaguars tied them 2-2. Both teams have played strong defense with great goaltending and entered the game giving up just 27 goals each in nine games this season. A close low scoring game was expected.
The first period started out slowly has the teams were able to shut down each other’s offense. The Raiders would finally break through at 13:33 of the period on the power play, as a pair of Lauren’s combined to strike for Hastings. Lauren Hubbart fed Lauren Skov for the first goal of the game. Skov shot from the right slot firing the puck top shelf on the short side. Hastings played strong defense in the period, but a turnover allowed the Jaguars a chance in the final minute of the period. Jefferson connected and tied the score at 16:10 of the first period. The game remained tied 1-1 after the first period, the Raiders held a 7-5 advantage in shots.
In the second period, the ice opened up a bit allowing for a few more chances for each team. Both goaltenders were equal to the task however, and the game remained 1-1 after two periods. Jefferson outshot Hastings 10-7 in the second period.
In the third period, the game continued to be a tough low scoring battle. The Raiders continued to keep the Jaguars on the outside allowing goalie Lauren Dubej to make the saves and control her rebounds. The Raiders finally got their chance when Kylie Gruden took the puck in transition and Makayla Berquist was in front of the net to put the Raiders back in the lead at 2-1. Berquist with the goal at 11:04 with a single assist to Gruden. The last six minutes of the game would continue to be tense as Hastings was unable to extend their lead. With less than three minutes to play, Hastings would go shorthanded. The Raiders defense and Dubej held strong and Hastings escaped with a hard-fought 2-1 win. Both teams had 10 shots in the third period. Jefferson would outshoot Hastings 25-24 in the game.
On Friday night, Hastings welcomed Hopkins/ Park to town for a non-conference game. March 4th, the teams will meet again in St. Louis Park for the rematch. Hopkins/Park entered the game with a 5-4-1 record. They had faced three common opponents earlier in the season. They lost 7-0 to Holy Angels, defeated Mahtomedi 3-2, and tied Bloomington Jefferson 1-1. This game was another one that was expected to be a close low scoring game.
In the first period, the Raiders got a few good looks, but could not put the puck in the net. The Royals were getting some shots on Dubej, but nothing that challenged the goaltender. A period that seemed like Hastings out played the Royals, the score was tied 0-0 and shots were tied at 9-9. The period was a bit chippy there were five total penalties, three on the Royals and two on the Raiders. All three Hopkins/Park penalties were for checking.
Hastings got the scoring started at the drop of the puck in the second period. Skov would again start the scoring at :20 of the second period. Assists to Jaida and Maydn Hanson. The lead would last less than two minutes as at 2:03 of the period, Hopkins/Park tied the score. The Raiders were turned away on a couple more good chances in the period. At 11:57, Kaitlin Petrich put Hastings back on top 2-1. Single assist to Kiki Radant. Hastings would lead 2-1 after two periods and outshot the Royals 10-8 in the second period.
The third period was much like the first period as the teams traded several power plays. The Raiders and Royals did not seem to like each other much as Hastings was called twice for roughing, while Hopkins/Park had another checking call and a cross-check as well. Hastings again would get on the scoreboard as Petrich buried her second goal of the game. The unassisted goal gave the Raiders a 3-1 lead at 11:24. From there, Dubej and her defense made sure the Royals were unable to mount a comeback. For the second time this week, Hastings holds their opponents to just one goal as they defeat the Royals 3-1. Hastings outshot Hopkins/Park 10-8 in the third period and 29-25 for the game. Dubej allows just one goal with 24 saves, the exact totals she had against Bloomington Jefferson.
Hastings will have a chance to get to .500 next week when they travel to West St. Paul to face last place Sibley/St. Paul on Tuesday night. Hastings is now 5-6 on the season and have won five of their last six games.