By Rob LaPlante
Crow River News Sports
The flu bug wasn’t the only thing flying around on the night of Jan. 8 at the STMA Arena.
On a night when the River Hawks were without senior forward Rachel Heiber, junior forward Kaleigh Hamann and junior goalie Alex LaMere – all missing with the flu. The Cambridge-Isanti girls’ hockey team fell ill from a case of the Dani Sibley’s.
Sibley registered four goals and two assists, including three of the fastest goals scored by one player in school history in an 11-0 blowout of the Bluejackets. The senior captain notched a power-play goal at the 4:00 mark of the opening period. Just 2:25 seconds later, Sibley had completed the hat trick with her third goal of the game on just her third shift of the contest.
“It was quick,” said Sibley, with a big smile. “My first came on the point on the power play, then two more right away. It was fun. The puck was definitely going my way.”
“I was on the ice when she scored those and it was insane,” said sophomore defenseman Marina Chapman. “Most people don’t get a hat trick in a high school career and to see it in less than three minutes was crazy.”
Chapman also played a key role in the win. She assisted on Sibley’s first goal. She assisted on the first of two goals from junior Mackenzie Johnson. Chapman also scored two goals of her own, including a slapper from the point.
“My first slap shot in the game I fired too high,” Chapman said. “The second one I pretty much tried to make sure it was low and on net.”
Head coach Jason Johnson has a few defenders that contribute offensively. Senior Emily Achterkirch finished with a goal and three assists. Senior Beth Hinkemeyer had three assists. Johnson had two goals and then there is Chapman, who arguably has the hardest shot on the team.
“When she has a little bit of time and space, she can put that puck on the net,” Johnson said. “She’s a skilled defenseman and we’re fortunate that we have a few of those. She has a lot of poise with the puck.”
With the score out of hand, the third period was played under running time. No team dented the scoreboard in the final stanza and senior Dayna Duncan improved to 5-1-0, stopping 15 shots, earning her second shutout of the season.
With Sibley missing two regulars on her line, she said it was nice to see other girls step up.
“It’s for sure different when you throw someone else in there. But it’s nice to get other girls playing and it’s nice to know we have those players when top players go down,” said Sibley.
Sibley was paired most the game with senior Maddi Sjelin and sophomore Rachel King. Both King and Sjelin added two assists. Sjelin’s two assists gives her nine for the season and puts her five assists away from tying the all-time River Hawks record for career assists set by Kasey Blomberg with 68.
Another highlight came late in the second period when sophomore forward Amanda Dorholt scored her first career varsity goal.
The win extended their unbeaten string to nine games, dating back to a 3-1 loss Dec. 1 against Wayzata.
That streak came to a disappointing end on Jan. 10 in a 5-4 loss at Orono. The Hawks blew a 3-1 lead to a Spartan team that came into the game ranked No. 5 in Class A.
Freshman forward Greta Stanton scored two goals and in each of the first two periods. Orono’s Sarah Harrison had a goal squeezed between Stanton’s two goals. The game appeared secure at the 4:36 mark of the third period when Sibley made it 3-1, scoring her 21st goal of the season, with an assist from junior Maddi Young.
From there, the Hawks fell into penalty trouble. Four minor penalties in the game’s final 12 minutes cost NWC three consecutive Orono power-play goals. Breanna Bren’s goal at 16:24 gave Orono a 4-3 lead and Rebekah Smith added an empty netter making it 5-3. Stanton scored a late goal – her third of the game – with the extra attacker at 16:58, but time would run out.
It was just NWC’s third loss of the season (13-3-1).
“We had a long layoff,” said Johnson, whose team was idle for 17 games prior to last week. “We talked every day in practices how important it is to play with tempo and at top-end speed.”
NWC’s was in action Tuesday at Rogers. Friday they are at No. 19 (Class A) Princeton and Saturday at No. 18 (Class A) Alexandria. Both games start at 7 p.m.