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Cards jump out to first two wins

Senior Melissa Drown brings the puck up the ice at the Runestone Community Center with Albert Lea’s Anna Anderson trying to catch up. Drown had three assists in the Cardinals’ 6-0 win over Albert Lea. (Blaze Fugina/Echo Press)

A year after winning 19 games and playing in the state tournament, the Alexandria girls’ hockey team picked up where it left off in the first two games of the season over the weekend.

The Cardinals started the season with a 6-0 win against Albert Lea at home Friday and followed that with another home win of 4-1 over North Metro on Saturday.

The Cardinals kept constant offensive pressure on their opponents all weekend, outshooting Albert Lea 38-14 and North Metro 44-14.

Lauren Niska scored the season’s first goal for Alexandria in the first period Friday against Albert Lea. Taylor Ellingson, Hanah Hansen and Rachel Drew each scored in the second period for the Cardinals, and in the third, Niska scored her second of the night before Mari Wosepka netted Alexandria’s sixth goal.

The Cardinals scored three times in the first period Saturday on their way to a 4-1 win over North Metro. Wosepka, Micaela Swenson and Nicole Bartels each scored in a span of 12 minutes in the first period to give Alexandria an early lead. Hansen also scored a goal for the Cardinals in the third period.

Melissa Drown also was a big factor on offense, picking up a total of five assists. Alexandria goaltender Amy Jost had wins in both of the weekend games, earning a shutout with nine saves against Albert Lea Friday and stopping 13 of 14 shots on Saturday.

The Cardinals are working hard to repeat their success of last year and get back to the state tournament. To do that they will need to replace their six outgoing seniors from last year’s team, including Shanee Herd and Shelby Iverson. They also will try to do that with a new head coach in Blair Hovel.

“Definitely we want to get back to state this year,” Drown said. “We’ve got to be competitive in all of our games, and one of our main goals is to outwork every team that we play against; because that is going to be a big factor.”

To achieve these goals, the Cardinals will need contributions from newcomers to the varsity team. They will also need to work hard to replace some of the scoring they lost from last season.

“We lost a lot of our scoring line and now we have to kind of get back to it,” Ellingson said.

Before the season started, Hovel spoke about how he wanted the Cardinals to play with a more aggressive attack in the offensive zone. The Cardinal players said they have focused on this aggressive style in team practices before the season.

“Always have the first girls coming in really hard, just attacking right away,” Drown said. “That sets them off guard and gives us the advantage in the offensive zone.”

They are also working on cycling the puck on the power play and getting defensemen more involved on offense. Niska was able to benefit from this by scoring two goals in Friday’s game.

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

Alexandria next plays section opponent Fergus Falls at 7:15 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, at the Runestone Community Center. They will follow that up with their first road game of the season on Friday in Detroit Lakes.


ALBERT LEA 0 0 0 – 0

ALEXANDRIA 1 3 2 – 6

FIRST PERIOD – ALEXANDRIA – Lauren Niska (Melissa Drown), 15:26

SECOND PERIOD – ALEXANDRIA – Taylor Ellingson (Drown), 4:09; Hanah Hansen (Kaila DeWanz), 8:32; Rachel Drew (DeWanz, McKenzie Revering), 12:35

THIRD PERIOD – Niska (DeWanz), 3:49; Mari Wosepka (Drown), 4:59

SHOTS ON GOAL – ALEXANDRIA 17-12-9 – 38; ALBERT LEA 2-5-7 – 14

GOALTENDING – ALEXANDRIA – Amy Jost – W, 9 saves; Katie Schwarz – L, 33 saves


NORTH METRO 0 1 0 – 1

ALEXANDRIA 3 0 1 – 4

FIRST PERIOD – ALEXANDRIA – Wosepka (SH) (Hansen), 4:00; Micaela Swenson (Niska), 5:53; Nicole Bartels (PP) (Drown), 16:19

SECOND PERIOD – NORTH METRO – Leah Younkers (PP) (Allison Underwood), 7:07

THIRD PERIOD – ALEXANDRIA – Hansen (Drown), 16:17

SHOTS ON GOAL – ALEXANDRIA – 22-14-8 – 44; NORTH METRO – 1-5-8 – 14

GOALTENDING – ALEXANDRIA – Jost – W, 13 saves; NORTH METRO – Hannah Paulson – L, 40 saves

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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