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Cards open hockey season with 6-0 victory

Alexandria's Melissa Drown skates with the puck Friday night in the first game of the season against Albert Lea. Drown tallied three assists in the game as the Cardinals beat the Tigers 6-0. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

Defenseman Lauren Niska scored two goals to lead the Alexandria girl’s hockey team to a 6-0 victory against Albert Lea in the season’s first game Friday night at the Runestone Community Center.

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The Cardinals were able to keep a constant pressure on offense, outshooting the Tigers 33-13. Niska opened the scoring for Alexandria after netting a goal midway through the first period. Second period goals by Taylor Ellingson, Hanah Hansen and Rachel Drew upped the Cardinals’ lead to 4-0. Niska and Mari Wosepka each added third period goals to give the Cardinals a final 6-0 victory.

Amy Jost was strong in goal for Alexandria, picking up a shutout win by turning away all 13 of the Tigers’ shots.

After all three of the Cardinals’ lines scored Friday, head coach Blair Hovel called the season opener an all-around team victory.

“We had basically 13 points, so a lot of people contributed,” he said. “That’s what you want, a team effort.”

Hovel noticed Melissa Drown’s forechecking efforts on Friday as she contributed three assists for Alexandria. After the game she was happy with the team’s effort in their first game of the season.

“Definitely good,” said Drown. “We’ve been working hard the last two weeks in practice and it showed.”

The Cardinals said they are focused on being more aggressive on offense and cycling the puck on the power play this season. They also are trying to increase the amount of shots taken from their defensemen, which helped Niska to a two-goal performance.

“It’s a lot more open on top then it is down low,” she said. “It gets us more opportunities to score.”

The Cardinals will play their second game of the season at 7 p.m. Saturday against the North Metro Stars.

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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