By Jake Schroer
After a successful 6-0 season opening victory against the co-op Cambridge-Isanti/Mora/Pine City Bluejackets, the North Wright County Riverhawks (1-1) lost their home opening game to Achiever Academy.
After a scoreless opening period, highlighted by a key penalty kill for the Hawks, Achiever Academy (5-1) drew first blood on a goal by senior forward Katie Lynch. Later in the period, junior forward Emily Antony scored her first goal of the night, assisted by Gracie Ostertag, extending the lead to 2-0.
Still in the second period, Antony recorded her second goal for the Aces, who scored four in the period. The fourth goal also belonged to Antony, as she recorded a hat trick on the evening. In the first two periods, shots on goal heavily favored the Aces as they outshot the Hawks 21-8 through the first 34 minutes.
The Riverhawks got things going in the third period. Junior forward Emily Laudenbach scored NWC’s first goal on an assist from senior team captain Mackenzie Johnson, a defenseman. The Riverhawks controlled the period, especially in shots on goal. The shot increase kept the pressure on the Aces.
Junior forward Rachel King scored the next goal for NWC with the assist from freshman Allie McCarthy. The Hawks kept up the pressure throughout the third period, but the Aces skated on to a 4-2 victory.
Penalties hurt the Riverhawks, playing a large part in a massive shot disparity between the two teams through the first two periods. The Hawks also entered play without head coach Jason Johnson who dealt with a family emergency.
Assistant coach Kevin Finnerty attributed the Hawks slow start to the fact that the team had only played its second game that night.
“The pace of the game changed bigtime from our opening game and I think we weren’t quite ready for it,” he said. In the third period, the Hawks changed the lines and moved some players around to try and gain momentum.
Finnerty said that the game was a good barometer of what is out there concerning other teams.
“We’re gonna play a lot of good teams this year so it’s good to get one early like that, and get a taste,” he said, adding that the game will go well toward preparing the team for conference play and the tempo that goes along with it.
Finnerty said the team has to work on its power play because it looked lost in those situations during the game. With ample time to prepare for its next opponent, he said the team will work on skills during practice in an effort to get better.
The Riverhawks face Brainerd in a road game on Saturday.