BY DAVID PEDERSEN
The area girls hockey team gave two-time defending state Class AA champ Minnetonka a scare before losing 5-2 Saturday.
After three periods the teams were tied 2-2 before Minnetonka scored three goals in the last eight minutes to live up to its No. 1 state ranking.
The Bison, including players from Delano, Rockford and Buffalo, took a 2-1 lead after the first period on two goals by Katie Rooney. Goalie Lindsey Hartfiel made 16 saves in the first period alone.
A costly Bison power play resulted in a tie game early in the second period. Minnetonka had a clean break away attempt by their top scorer, but defender Mackenzie Rixe caught her from behind and cleanly knocked the puck away.
The teams traded shots for the first eight minutes of the third period with the Bison just missing on a rebound attempt and had a near break away.
Minnetonka scored the go ahead goal at 9:03 of the third period. The Skippers scored again at 10:36 and 13:42 to ice the win.
“We played a great game and gave ourselves a chance to win in the third period,” said coach Ray Dahlof about facing the team that also is in Section 6AA. “We were very proud of the way we played. We have some work to do, but this game will motivate us to work harder in the upcoming weeks of the season.”
Earlier in the week the Bison dominated Cambridge/Isanti 10-0. Rooney and Madi Jewell scored in the first period before the Bison erupted to net six in the second period.
Emily Wiegand, Rooney and Sydney Martichuski had the first three goals. The line of Jewell, Rooney and Lindsay Roethke scored three goals in 42 seconds on one shift.
“I don’t remember that happening before, but that line really controlled the puck well and hit some nice passes,” said Dahlof.
Rooney got two of the goals, giving her four on the night. Lindsay Roethke had the other goal for the line. Kirsten Olson and Ashley Effertz scored in the third period.
The Bison needed overtime to defeat Centennial 2-1 last Thursday. Effertz, a sophomore, provided the heroics by scoring a short-handed goal with 45 seconds to play in the third period to force overtime. She then went end to end to score the game-winner.
The Bison were still down two players to start the eight-minute sudden death overtime period. They killed off the remaining 35 seconds of 5 on 3, but still had a minute and a half on a 5 on 4 penalty kill.
“It was a great comeback win for us,” adds Dahlof. “Everything that had to happen in the last minute of the period worked for us. Defenders Emily Varner, Rixe and Effertz, plus forward Lindsay Roethke, did a great job killing penalties.”
The team is home against Chaska/Chanhassen Friday, Dec. 21.