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Cardinals get back on track

Alexandria junior Micaela Swenson (left) battles for control of the puck during the Cardinals’ game against Northern Lake on Saturday night. Swenson scored one of the three goals for Alexandria in the second period as the Cardinals cruised to a section win over the Lightning. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

The Alexandria girls’ hockey team stopped a two game losing streak in a big way Saturday with a 5-1 win at the RCC over Section 6A opponent Northern Lakes.

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Melissa Drown scored twice for the Cardinals, netting her first goal in the first period and finishing up the scoring for Alexandria in the third period.

The other three Alexandria goals were scored in the second period by Micaela Swenson, Nicole Bartels and Kaila DeWanz. The Cardinals switched their lines up before the game to provide a more balanced scoring attack, and the move appeared to pay off.

“It was nice to come out hard tonight and get some more points up there,” Drown said. “We’ve been struggling with scoring and we moved some lines around and I think that helped us in the offensive zone tonight.”

Goaltender Bailey Serum also played well for the Cardinals, stopping 26 of the 27 Northern Lakes shots on goal for the victory. She was happy with the way the team played in front of her.

“I felt pretty good,” Serum said. “I had a great defense in front of me today and our forwards just kept throwing it down at their net and getting goals.”

After the Cardinals struggled with scoring earlier in the week, the coaching staff sat down and tried to figure out how to get a more consistent scoring attack from all three of the team’s lines.

Head coach Blair Hovel said they decided to split up the team’s top three scorers to each of the three lines.

“After the last game we looked and tried to find different things that we could do to try and run three lines consistently,” Hovel said. “What we basically did is decided to take our top three scorers and split them up.”

Part of the change also involved moving Taylor Ellingson from forward to defense, a position she played during most of her freshman and sophomore years. This moved Bartels from defense to a position on the wing.

“It just seems like a good fit,” Hovel said. “I had to ask Taylor Ellingson first if she was willing to go back to play defense, so then we moved Nicole Bartels up to the wing. Now we have a left handed wing on our offensive unit, too, which we have not had all season.”

The Cardinals are closing in on the end of the season with only seven games left on the regular season schedule. Alexandria hopes to get back to the state tournament with a strong push in the Section 6A tournament, and they will look for the new lines to help them improve their puck control.

“When we establish a strong forecheck, that’s when we’re really strong,” Hovel said. “It allows our defense to be more into the play versus just always playing defense.”


ALEXANDRIA 1 3 1 – 5

SCORING – FIRST PERIOD – Alexandria – Melissa Drown (PP) (Hanah Hansen), 1:47

SECOND PERIOD – Alexandria – Micaela Swenson (Karina Carlsen, McKenzie Revering), 2:39; Nicole Bartels (Rachel Drew, Revering), 10:33; Northern Lakes – Mariah Reed (Isabella Abear), 11:24; Alexandria – Kaila DeWanz (PP) (Drown, Revering), 14:35

THIRD PERIOD – Drown (Swenson, Taylor Ellingson), 0:23

GOALTENDING – Alexandria - Bailey Serum – W, 26 saves on 27 shots; Northern Lakes – Hailey Deutsch – L, 16 saves on 21 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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