Spartans defeat Wildfire for top of WCC

After two conference games last week, the Holy Family/Waconia girls’ hockey team is 4-1 in the Wright County Conference, a record good enough for second. The team is 14-3-1 overall this season.

Orono 3, HF/W 2

Headed into their game on Jan. 8, both the Wildfire and the Spartans were undefeated in conference play. But as the rules of the game dictate, there can only be one winner. At Orono, the Spartans emerged victorious after a 3-2 overtime victory.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first period, but both managed to score one goal in the second. At 15:56, Waconia junior Sarah Rosland put the first points on the board, scoring on an assist from freshman Megan Menzuber. Orono responded a minute later (16:57) with a goal of its own to tie the game at 1-1.

Orono’s Rebekah Smith scored her second goal of the night at 11:58 in the third period, to give the Spartans the 2-1 lead. But the Wildfire were not done fighting, as senior Jaci Reinke tied the game at 2-2 at 16:41. Junior Brityn Ryshavy assisted.

The game went into a sudden death overtime, and at 5:11, the Spartans scored a short-handed goal to win the game.

Orono outshot Holy Family/Waconia 28-23. Orono goalie Casey Hartfiel finished with a .913 save percentage, compared to Wildfire freshman Lexi Hartmann, who saved 25 shots for a .893 percentage.

Wildfire head coach Ryan Rice said the game was exciting and the team played well on the Spartans’ Olympic-sized sheet of ice.

“I don’t care for playing there because the oversized rink really changes the game,” he said. “It was back and forth most of the game.”

The Wildfire are looking forward to their rematch with the Spartans this Saturday, Jan. 19, at Victoria.

HF/W 4, L/D-C 2

Hosting Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato on Jan. 12, the Wildfire were “okay,” according to Rice.

“We came out a little flat in the first period,” he said. “Once we started playing we struggled to get the puck past their goalie, who played a very good game.”

Rice said the Dragons were much improved since the teams last met on Dec. 11.

Reinke scored the first goal of the game at 6:49 in the first period. The Dragons responded at 13:16 to tie the game at 1-1.

Eleven seconds into the second period, sophomore Abby Hanscom found the back of the Dragon net on an assist from fellow sophomore Karlie McEnelly.

Not until 12:33 would a team score, and it was the Wildfire’s Menzuber, scoring on a power play. Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato score at 17:00 to make it a 3-2 game in favor of Holy Family/Waconia.

Menzuber clinched the game at 12:28 in the third period, scoring a goal while the Wildfire were short-handed. Rosland assisted.

The Wildfire outshot the Dragons 33-17. Hartmann saved 15 shots for a .882 percentage.

After hosting Orono this Saturday, the Wildfire hit the road for games at Chaska (Jan. 25) and Bloomington Kennedy (Jan. 29). Their final home game will be Jan. 31 against New Ulm.

Contact Melissa Marohl at [email protected]