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Girls Hockey: Goal in final 90 seconds lifts Flying Warriors

Two nights earlier, the Alexandria Cardinals broke the hearts of the Brainerd/Little Falls Flying Warriors with two goals in the final seven minutes of a 3-1 victory.

Allyson Smith of the Flying Warriors (center) skates past Moorhead’s Jordan Evavold (left) and Jenna Perreault Thursday. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)
Allyson Smith of the Flying Warriors (center) skates past Moorhead’s Jordan Evavold (left) and Jenna Perreault Thursday. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery)

Two nights earlier, the Alexandria Cardinals broke the hearts of the Brainerd/Little Falls Flying Warriors with two goals in the final seven minutes of a 3-1 victory.

In Thursday night's Section 8-2A game at Essentia Health Sports Center, the Flying Warriors did the same to the Moorhead Spuds with a 2-1 win as Ally Smith scored with 1:25 remaining.

The Spuds took penalties at 14:01 and 15:30 of the third to give BLF a 2-skater edge. Five seconds after the second penalty, and a faceoff in the Moorhead zone, Smith got the puck from Megan Tschida, streaked to her left and rang a shot off the left post and behind Spuds goalie Brianna Storms.

"The plan going in, because I'm a lefty, I was going to be on my forehand," Smith said. "Megan Tschida was going to push the girl forward and I was going to come around with the puck. I saw the one girl, that I had her beat on my forehand. I saw the short side and just shot it."

Flying Warriors coach Jim Ernster credited Tschida for setting up the winning play and Smith for her effort on the game-winner.

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Warriors 2, Moorhead 1

  • The key: Ally Smith scored for BLF with 1:25 remaining
  • Overall: Brd 4-7-0, Moor 1-7-2
  • Next: Brainerd/Little Falls at Roseau 6 p.m. Friday.

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"One thing you can't teach is that move that Ally made on the girl to get even more open," he said, "and then the shooting - she does that so well when she gets the time and space."

The victory halted the Flying Warriors' losing streak at three. BLF outshot the Spuds 32-20 and capitalized on two of five power plays.

"It feels amazing," Smith said of the win. "After losing that game, you never realize how winning is so much fun. And it was good for our team. We needed a win."

In addition, the win snapped a 6-game losing streak to Moorhead. The last time BLF beat the Spuds was on Feb. 12, 2011, in the Section 8-2A quarterfinals.

Moorhead pulled its goalie in the final 30 seconds and had a faceoff in the BLF zone with 5.1 seconds left. But the Flying Warriors won the faceoff and pinned the puck against the boards to preserve their fourth win.

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Earlier in the final period, the Spuds' Brenna Mjoness broke in on BLF goalie Olivia King, who stonewalled the shot.

Tschida had a breakaway in the third after a Moorhead turnover, but shot into Storms' pads. Smith also broke away with 6:40 left, but shot wide as she fell to the ice, drawing a roughing penalty.

Maddie Ellingson broke the ice for the Flying Warriors 1:25 into the second during, which BLF outshot the Spuds 14-7. Twenty-two seconds into a power play, Ellingson wristed a close shot into the net.

After King was smacked in the mask on a Moorhead power play, the Spuds' Taylor O'Connell tied it 1-1 at 12:58 when she redirected a shot past King.

Winning at crunch time gives the Flying Warriors a boost heading into games Friday at Roseau and at 1 p.m. Saturday at home against Bemidji.

"In hockey you need to go hard for 51 minutes," Ernster said. "We talked to the girls that the third period was kind of like a final exam and we needed them to concentrate for 17 minutes. They came out and credit to them they did that."

Moorhead 0 1 0 - 1

Brainerd 0 1 1 - 2

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Second period: BLF-Maddie Ellingson (Kennedy Rusk) ppg 1:25; BLF-Taylor O'Connell (Kara Werth) ppg 12:58

Third period: BLF-Ally Smith (Megan Tschida) ppg 15:35

Shots on goal: Moor 5-7-8-20, BLF 7-14-11-32

Goalies: M-Brianna Storms (30 saves); BLF-Olivia King (19 saves).

MIKE BIALKA may be reached at mike.bialka@brainerddispatch.com or 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/bertsballpark .

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