By Jake Schroer
Crow River News Sports
The North Wright County Riverhawks had a busy week with three games (two at home). The first took place on the road as the Hawks faced Chisago Lakes.
Chisago Lakes got on the board first at the four minute mark of the opening period on a goal by Rheanna Duncan (assists by Courtney Baugher and Allison Borgstrom). The Hawks answered with goals by Kaleigh Hamann (assists by Mackenzie Johnson and Emily Achterkirch) and Johnson (assist by Achterkirch). The Hawks led 2-1 after one.
Early in the second, Chisago tied the game on a Baugher power play goal (assist by Borgstrom). Johnson responded for the Hawks (assist by Rachel King), but the Wildcats tied it again on an Allison Route goal (assist by Baugher).
Jade Ye gave North Wright County the lead for good in the third period (assist by Achterkirch). Johnson completed a hat trick with a late goal (assist by Achterkirch and Paige Jenson) for a 5-3 victory. Alex LaMere recorded 22 saves in the win.
Head coach Jason Johnson said that Chisago was a good team and the Riverhawks needed a strong performance after a scoreless tie against St. Francis.
“All in all, it’s a pretty good effort by us, on the road against a pretty formidable conference opponent.”
Hamann, Johnson power Riverhawks to victory over Rams
The Riverhawks defeated the Roseau Rams in the St. Michael-Albertville Arena on Friday. Driving North Wright County were Kaleigh Hamann and Mackenzie Johnson, who each scored a pair of goals in a different period.
Johnson broke the ice in the first period with a goal on a penalty shot. Tianna Gunderson evened things up at 1-1 late in the first (assists by Emily Pahlen and Sarina Goos). Johnson scored her second goal (assist by Emily Achterkirch) just 17 seconds into the second period to give NWC a 2-1 lead.
Hamann batted a puck out of the air for her first goal of the game (assist by Johnson), giving the Riverhawks a 3-1 lead.
“That was really lucky. Mac Johnson had a really good shot, and I just tried to get my stick on the rebound, and I got lucky enough it went in,” Hamann said. She followed it up with a goal on a breakaway, a much more traditional goal. Goalie Alex LaMere saved 28 shots for a 4-1 victory.
Coach Johnson praised the section win, calling it a game the Hawks needed.
“Geographically, we’re a section that’s hundreds of miles apart, so we can only play one game against each team, usually. When you play a team head-to-head, you look at the seedings at the end of the year, it’s kinda hard to go ahead of someone if you’re not gonna beat them head-to-head,” he said.
Johnson also praised Alex LaMere for another solid performance in net.
Riverhawks lose to Thief River Falls in final minutes
The Riverhawks were back at it on Saturday afternoon at the Moose Sherritt Arena in Monticello hosting Thief River Falls, the second ranked team in Class A.
The Riverhawks played very well defensively, but penalties hurt North Wright County by allowing TRF to control the puck. Shots on goal were fairly even (10-7 TRF) after the first period, but the second and third showed the effect of the man advantage (TRF outshot NWC 20-4).
The edge in number of penalties actually went to North Wright County, who had six chances on the power play. However, the Hawks went 0-6. The most painful penalty belonged to team captain Emily Achterkirch, who was assessed a major roughing infraction with 4:13 remaining in regulation.
43 seconds into the 5 minute power play, Brandy Malwitz broke the scoreless tie. The Riverhawks found no answer and lost 1-0. Alex LaMere saved 26 shots.
“They’re too good a team to keep ‘em off the board that long, and we just gave them too many opportunities on the power play,” coach Johnson said. He was pleased with his team’s effort in the game, saying the girls never backed down from the challenge.
“If you ask us on Thursday if we get a split out of this, we’d probably take that because they’re two quality opponents coming in to play us,” he said.
The game, Johnson said, would have been nice to have, but it was a non-conference game, so the loss does not hurt that much.
The Riverhawks hosted the Rogers Royals on Tuesday.