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Alexandria drops first game in OT

Alexandria junior Nicole Bartels brings the puck down the ice during the first period on Thursday night. Bartels scored a goal that tied the game at two apiece to force overtime again River Lakes. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Nicole Bartels scored early in the third period to give the Cardinals girls hockey team a 2-2 tie, but an overtime goal by River Lakes handed the Cardinals their first loss of the season at home Thursday.

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The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead in the game as Hanah Hansen scored only two minutes into the game, with an assist by Rachel Drew.

But River Lakes battled back with two goals by Sydney Caron and Sierra Flint to take a 2-1 lead after the first period.

Despite a wide shot margin, Alexandria was able to keep River Lakes off the scoreboard in the second period. Cardinals’ goaltender Amy Jost turned away 13 shots in the period to keep the score at 2-1.

Then Bartels evened the score in the third period on the power play, and neither team was able to jump ahead in regulation as the game went to overtime. But that was when River Lakes’ Abby Mooney scored an even-strength goal a minute into the overtime for a 3-2 victory.

Alexandria goaltender Amy Jost was handed the loss, making 24 saves on 27 shots.

Head coach Blair Hovel, who was coach of River Lakes before taking his current position at Alexandria, expected a close game between two teams that likely will finish toward the top of the Central Lakes Conference this season.

“I knew it was going to be tough,” he said. “Those girls in the River Lakes locker room were basically talking about this game ever since I decided to come up here and not be down there this year.”

River Lakes held a shot advantage through the first two periods of the game Thursday, but Alexandria picked up their play in the third. Hovel said he noticed the Cardinals controlled the play better in the period.

“In the third period we picked it up a little bit more,” he said. “Our forecheck was a lot stronger so we were able to control the puck a little more; we weren’t throwing the puck as much.”

One issue the Cardinals will have to work on this season is the depth of their forwards. They lost first line forward Mari Wosepka early in the first period with a headache after being hit in the head, and needed to reshuffle their lineup for the rest of the game. Hovel said they will need other players to help fill those gaps in the lineup when there are injuries or illnesses.

“That drops us down to two lines,” Hovel said. “We don’t have just one person to replace her right now, and that’s what we have to find.”

Hovel said he liked the effort he saw from the Cardinal players, but noticed some mental mistakes. These mental mistakes were especially noticeable in the first period when River Lakes erased Alexandria’s early lead.

“We battled hard and all that,” Hovel said. “We made little mistakes here and there, and that’s how they got their first two goals, just mental mistakes.”

The loss dropped the Cardinals to 1-1 against conference opponents this season. Alexandria will restart their conference schedule next week in a home game on Tuesday, December 3 against Brainerd/Little Falls.


RIVER LAKES 2 0 0 1 – 3

ALEXANDRIA 1 0 1 0 – 2

SHOTS – Alexandria – 3, 5, 5, 0 – 13; RIVER LAKES – 5, 13, 6, 3 – 27

SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – ALEXANDRIA – Hanah Hansen (Rachel Drew), 1:00; RIVER LAKES – Sydney Caron, 11:27; RIVER LAKES – Sierra Flint (Shelby Teal), 15:29

SECOND PERIOD – No scoring

THIRD PERIOD – ALEXANDRIA – Nicole Bartels (PP), 1:25

OVERTIME – RIVER LAKES – Abby Mooney (Alexis Klatt), 1:13

GOALTENDING – ALEXANDRIA – Amy Jost L, 24 saves on 27 shots; RIVER LAKES – Ellary Sweep – 11 saves on 13 shots

Blaze Fugina

Blaze Fugina is the sports editor of the Woodbury and South Washington County Bulletin newspapers. Previously, Blaze worked as a sports editor for the Pierce County Herald and a sports reporter for the Alexandria Echo Press. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in May of 2011. You can follow Blaze on Twitter at @BlazeFugina.

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