Riverhawks suffer heartbreaking loss to Icebreakers

The Icebreakers file off the bench in celebration of a marathon victory. North Wright County lost a heartbreaker in the fourth overtime. (Photo by Jake Schroer)

The Icebreakers file off the bench in celebration of a marathon victory. North Wright County lost a heartbreaker in the fourth overtime. (Photo by Jake Schroer)

By Jake Schroer

Crow River News Sports

 

Coach Jason Johnson said all year his Riverhawks team had talent, but not much experience.

Everything came to a head in the quarterfinal section game Saturday against the St. Cloud Icebreakers at the MAC in St. Cloud. As the fourth seed, the Icebreakers hosted the fifth seeded Riverhawks.

After a scoreless first period, the second saw Rachel King bury a power play goal on a rebound for a 1-0 Riverhawks lead (Kaleigh Hamann, Marina Chapman). A very short time later, senior Emily Achterkirch scored an unassisted goal. Things looked promising for the Riverhawks heading to the third period.

The lead remained 2-0 for the first ten minutes of the third period. Then King took a trip to the penalty box, which led to Haley Hjort cutting the lead in half (Mackenzie Feeny). Still, the Riverhawks held the lead with less than a minute left.

With 32 seconds left in the period, Tatum Peterson tied the game (Feeny). Suddenly, the game was headed to overtime. This began a long journey into the afternoon.

After eight minutes, the score remained 2-2. The second overtime played like a normal period of hockey at 17 minutes. After the second overtime, the result remained the same. The game went to a third overtime. Eight more minutes went by without a resolution.

Finally, the game went to a fourth overtime. Once again, potentially a 17 minute period. After 10:22 of the fourth overtime, and 94:22 of game time, Megan Milroy finally won it for the Icebreakers (Peterson, Samantha Eisenreich), who broke more than ice with the victory.

Coach Jason Johnson said the entire team was disappointed they could not finish the game in the third period.

“It’s just unfortunate, but that’s sports, and that’s hockey, and that’s a little bit of life, too, for us.”

Alex LaMere recorded 46 saves in her final varsity game. Both goalies seemed impenetrable in overtime.

“Alex has been great for us all year, and she was tonight, too. She kept us in there,” Johnson said. He said that he hopes the experience the younger girls got carries over into next season.

“We did have some minutes from our younger kids that hopefully will give them an advantage coming into next year, and being able to understand the level of compete that we need to have, and how hard we’re gonna have to play the game to keep winning games.”

The Riverhawks lost in the quarterfinal round of sections one year removed from a trip to the state tournament.

Mackenzie Johnson led the Riverhawks in points with 29. Alex LaMere finishes her senior campaign with six shutouts, a record of 12-5-3 and a GAA of 1.51.

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