Alex girls' hockey: Illies leads Cards to 6-3 win over BrainerdThree goals by Becca Illies in the third period broke open a tie game and highlighted the Cardinal girls’ hockey team’s 6-3 victory over Brainerd/Little Falls Thursday night, solidifying Alexandria’s hold on second place in the Central Lakes Conference.
Three goals by Becca Illies in the third period broke open a tie game and highlighted the Cardinal girls’ hockey team’s 6-3 victory over Brainerd/Little Falls Thursday night, solidifying Alexandria’s hold on second place in the Central Lakes Conference.
The contest didn’t start that optimistically as Alexandria gave up the first goal of the game on a power play, but came back with a pair of goals
“Coming into the game we fully expected to dominate the game more than we were,” said Cardinal head coach Andy Shriver, “despite the fact that we had lost to this team 4-2 back at our rink in December.”
It was Melissa Drown who evened the score as she took a feed from Heather Hvezda to the net. Taylor Ellingson then put the Cardinals up 2-1 as she launched the rebound from a Brooke Aaberg shot over the head of the goalie.
“Brainerd tied it in the second on a frustrating short-handed goal early in the period,” Shriver said. “The score stayed at 2-2 for a while until Nicole Bartels advanced the puck up to Britni DelCastillo, who fed it to Shelby Iverson, who backhanded the go-ahead goal with about two minutes left in the second period.”
The Warriors capitalized on a 5-on-3 power play with 10 seconds remaining, giving Emily Stark the puck and the goal to tie the game 3-3.
Alexandria then had to concoct a plan to kill off a five-minute penalty to start the third period.
“Usually that is a dangerous variable at an away game in which things don’t seem to be clicking, but this was the juncture at which the Cardinals moved from survive to thrive,” said the coach. “Players got together with their lines and focused on their plan. With less than favorable conditions to start the period, the final stanza was all the Cardinals.
“Check out the line score,” Shriver said. “It actually tells the story of a team who made a conscious, collective, intentional decision to be better than their opponent.
“The Cards systematically killed off the five minutes, and then another two-minute penalty immediately following. The kill included a short handed-goal and more shots on goal than the opponent’s power play.”
The Redbirds, in fact, outshot the Warriors 11-5 in the final period, and shut down Brainerd/Little Falls as Illies scored her three goals.
Illies’ first goal of the period came as the Cardinals were playing shorthanded, and she used assists from Bartels and Aaberg.
“[She] then went on to complete a pure hat-trick – three goals in a game, scored by one player with no goals by anyone else in between,” said Shriver. “Her second was from DelCastillo and Shaneé Herd, and the third from DelCastillo and Hvezda.
“Becca continues to play at a whole other level, especially when it comes to scoring.”
The Cardinals will be hosting the St. Cloud Icebreakers tomorrow, Thursday, at 5:15 p.m.
ALEXANDRIA 2 1 3 — 6
BRAINERD/LF 1 2 0 — 3
BLF – Maren Brown pp (Zoe Wolhart) 6:16, ALEX – Melissa Drown (Heather Hvezda) 7:36, ALEX – Taylor Ellingson (Brooke Aaberg) 9:01.
BLF – Emily Stark, sh (unassisted) 7:16, ALEX – Shelby Iverson (Britni DelCastillo, Nichole Bartels) 15:06, BLF – Emily Stark, pp (CJ Kendall, Kayla Strickland) 16:50.
ALEX – Becca Illies, sh (Nicole Bartels, Brooke Aaberg) 5:53, ALEX – Becca Illies (Britni DelCastillo, Shaneé Herd) 9:59, ALEX – Becca Illies (Britni DelCastillo, Heather Hvezda) 15:23.
SHOTS ON GOAL – Brainerd/Little Falls 5-10-5—20, Alexandria 9-10-11—30.
POWER PLAYS – Alexandria 0-3, Brainerd/LF 2-7.
GOALIE SAVES – Jodi Bertrand, BLF, 24, Stephanie Drown, Alex, 17.