Girls Hockey: Warriors roll to 7th victory in last 8 games
Thanks to her teammates, eighth-grader Breya Sawyer made a successful and a relatively stress-free debut as a starter in net for the Brainerd/Little Falls Warriors. The Warriors smothered the Bemidji Lumberjacks with their forecheck, allowing onl...
Thanks to her teammates, eighth-grader Breya Sawyer made a successful and a relatively stress-free debut as a starter in net for the Brainerd/Little Falls Warriors.
The Warriors smothered the Bemidji Lumberjacks with their forecheck, allowing only seven shots on net, on their way to a 6-1 victory in a game between Section 8-2A schools at Essentia Health Sports Center Friday, Dec. 21.
Sawyer had previously played only 34 minutes this season-the last two periods of one game.
"I was very nervous," she said. 'It was nerve-wracking, but my teammates helped me."
Although she faced so few shots, Sawyer did rise to the occasion when challenged.
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Warriors 6, Bemidji 1
- The key: Brainerd/Little Falls outshot the Lumberjacks 38-7
- Overall: BLF 9-2-1, Bem 3-8
- Next: BLF vs. North Wright County in Walser Invitational at Edina 2:15 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26.
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"That's a credit to her preparation every day," Warriors coach Jim Ernster said. "When she comes on the ice, she's working really hard. She's a good student of the game as well. She's been like a sponge with (goalie coach) Toby (Kvalevog) the last couple of years.
"I give her credit. It's never an easy position to be in as an eighth-grader at home, first varsity start, and she did fine."
The Warrior defense allowed just one quality scoring chance, on which Bemidji's Maggie Marcotte capitalized. Marcotte tallied at 10:47 to Sawyer's left to tie the game 1-1.
"It was back behind the left post," Sawyer said. "It was out to the hash marks, it hit my shoulder then it just rolled in."
Ernster said the Warriors did a nice job of backchecking.
"Any time they got it to the neutral zone, our girls were coming back hard and our defensemen did a nice job having active sticks," he said. "That created a lot of turnovers in the neutral zone. Then we were able to go back into our offensive end."
Following the first period, the Warriors cranked up their offense in the second outshooting Bemidji 15-2 and scoring three times. BLF then outshot the Lumberjacks 14-1 in the third and tallied twice.
Gabbie Smith's hat trick propelled the offense for Class 2A's 10th-ranked Warriors. She completed her hat trick with a shot through the 5-hole of Bemidji goalie Nettie Kimble at 3:51 of the third. Smith's second goal was a shot she roofed for a 3-1 lead. Her first goal snapped the tie at 4:21 of the second as she poked in a rebound after Sophie Robinson hit a post.
Lindsey Booth contributed two goals to the BLF attack. She scored the game's first goal at the 7:32 mark of the first on a wrister in front. Booth's rebound of a Taylor Larson shot on a power play resulted in a 4-1 Warrior lead at 11:28 of the second.
Abby Pohlkamp's goal at 6:54 of the third closed the scoring.
The victory was the seventh in the last eight games for BLF which is off until playing North Wright County in the Walser Invitational at Edina the day after Christmas. BLF beat NCW 4-2 Dec. 18.
"We've just got to continue to make sure we're cleaning up areas we need to clean up as well," Ernster said. "The girls have had a nice stretch. We've seen a few bad habits leak into our game. It's tough to get their attention when you're winning. We have another opportunity next Wednesday against North Wright County down at the Edina tournament to see where we're at and what we need to work on."
Bemidji 1 0 0-1
Brainerd/LF 1 3 2-6
First period: BLF-Lindsey Booth (Josie Kramer) 7:32; Bem-Maggie Marcotte (Olivia Johnson) 10:47
Second period: BLF-Gabbie Smith (Cheyenne Abear, Sophie Robinson) 4:21; BLF-Gabbie Smith 5:23; BLF-Lindsey Booth (Kramer, Taylor Larson) ppg 11:28
Third period: BLF-Gabbie Smith (Marre Welinski) 3:51; BLF-Abby Pohlkamp (Kramer, Welinski) 6:54
Shots on goal: BLF 9-15-14--38, Bem 4-2-1--7
Goalies: BLF-Breya Sawyer (6 saves); Bem-Nettie Kimble (32 saves).
For more photos go to https://bit.ly/2BESNhA .