With a loss to Orono last week, the Holy Family/Waconia girls’ hockey team lost out on its chance for a conference title two years running. The Wildfire finished the season 6-2 in the WCC, behind Orono (7-0-1).
Falling to Orono 2-0 on Feb. 1, a scoreless first period kept the game tied. But Orono would post a goal in each of the second and third periods to take a 2-0 victory.
Wildfire head coach Ryan Rice said the team played very strong in the first period, but couldn’t get the puck in the net and seemed to lose steam as the game progressed. Eventually, Orono would outshoot the Wildfire 27-13.
Sophomore Lexi Hartmann saved 25 shots on goal for a .926 save percentage and kept Holy Family/Waconia in the game.
“Lexi Hartmann played very well, making some tough saves to keep us in the game,” Rice said. “(Orono’s) two goals came on a breakaway and the second was a deflection that went off a skate.” Earlier in the week, the Wildfire played at New Ulm on Jan. 30, picking up a 5-1 victory. The Wildfire led 2-0 after one period, thanks to a goal at 1:05 from eighth grader Grace Blood (her first career goal), assisted by sophomore Megan Menzuber. Menzuber put the score at 2-0 at 10:35 on assists from junior Abby Hanscom and senior Jamie Kichler.
“We didn’t start very fast and were kind of sluggish,” Rice said.
Menzuber posted her second goal at 7:08 in the second (assisted by Hanscom), before New Ulm responded eight seconds later with the team’s only goal of the game.
With the Zamboni broken down, the teams had to move the game between the second and third periods to New Ulm’s second sheet of ice, an Olympic-sized rink.
But that didn’t stop the Wildfire, because in the third, Menzuber wrapped up her hat trick at 3:48 on assists from senior Sarah Rosland and senior Shania Gonzales, before Gonzales netted a power play goal at 10:59 to seal the game.
The Wildfire outshot New Ulm 46-15, and Hartmann saved 14 shots for a .933 save percentage.
The regular season wrapped up Monday evening against Shakopee. The Wildfire drew the No. 5 seed in Section 2AA play and will face off against No. 4 Chaska/Chanhassen on Friday, Feb. 7 in Chaska for a 7 p.m. game.
Rice said the team knows it will be a tough challenge, but he thinks the Wildfire can make a run.
“They are healthy again with a couple of their top players back, but we are healthy as we’ll be with all of our starters as well,” he said. “We will need to get to their goalie early to try and break her confidence a bit. It should be an exciting game.”
The winner of Friday’s game advances to play No. 1 Eden Prairie on Feb. 11.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com