It wasn’t the finish Red Wing envisioned at the start of the tournament but the Wingers’ skill level was enough to take fourth in the state.
“Our top end talent is there,” Red Wing head coach Scott Haley said. “We just got to get deeper … we need more experience.”
Fatigue also played a role as the Wingers were unable to take advantage of their speed against a bigger Warroad team. Red Wing was caught reaching which led to four tripping or hooking penalties.
“We were obviously fatigued but they were too,” Scott Haley said. “We were killed because of the penalty kill … when we’re on the power play, we’re just too much.”
Red Wing committed five penalties in the third period alone and was outshot 39-14 in the game, including 13-1 in the third period.
Senior Elle Anderson scored a power-play goal and ninth-grader Reagan Haley also scored. Sophomore Nicole Schammel had two assists.
Senior goalie Lisa Nibbe followed up a tough semifinal game against Breck with a stellar performance in net for the Wingers. Nibbe stopped 34 shots and helped keep Red Wing close against second-seeded Warroad. Scott Haley said Nibbe’s play after giving up five second-period goals to Breck was a testament to her character.
“You can ask her, that was probably the worst game of her career,” Haley said of the Breck game. “Lisa was phenomenal today … it’s a feather in her cap for her to respond like that.”
Nibbe was in net for the 2009 team that lost 7-2 to Warroad in the state semifinals and she used it as motivation.
“It was supposed to be a revenge game,” Nibbe said. “I tried to play the best I could for my team. I felt pretty focused.”
Nibbe said she was able to put the Breck game out of her mind and focused on each shot.
“It’s a new day,” Nibbe said. “You have to just forget about it. A lot of goalies’ downfall is their mind. I try not to focus on the bad and focus on what I’m doing well.”
She did a lot well in the first period against Breck, making 13 saves as the Wingers took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.
Senior Elle Anderson tallied Red Wing’s first goal by redirecting sophomore Nicole Schammel’s shot from the point. The Wingers were outshot 13-6 in the opening period.
Warroad’s Kayla Gardner scored a rebound goal on the power play to tie the game at 7 minutes, 43 seconds of the second period and Reagan Haley responded to put Red Wing up 2-1 at 10:17. But the Wingers gave up the lead with 26 seconds left in the period on a goal by Warroad’s Lisa Marvin. It was the fourth goal given up by the Wingers in the final minute of a period during the state tournament.
Marvin, a junior, added another goal on the power play at 2:49 into the third period and Lynn Astrup scored to make it 4-2 with 5:42 remaining in regulation. Marvin scored an empty-net goal with 10 seconds left to seal the victory.
Marvin’s four points gave her 34 career points in the Class A state tournament and set a new state record for both Class A and AA.
Now that the season is over, Red Wing will need to find replacements for three graduating seniors who played integral roles on this year’s team. Anderson was a top defenseman, Cori Fairbanks was a top forward who scored against Breck and Nibbe was the team’s top goalie. Fairbanks received the 2012 Class A Herb Brooks Award for the girls state hockey tournament.
Scott Haley said the Wingers recent success should make the younger players motivated to return to state. Red Wing is on the right track but in order to keep up with the top private schools, like Breck and Warroad, there’s plenty of work left to do, he said. The development of the Wingers’ youth programs, though strong, is crucial to the Wingers’ future success.
“We’re going to have our work cut out,” Scott Haley said. “Some of these games are won four years ago.”