Marki Oberg races toward her Alexandria teammates after scoring in the second period. Oberg's two goals lifted Alexandria to a 3-1 victory at Mound Westonka. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
Mound Westonka goalie Taylor Smith (30) faced 40 shots against Alexandria. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine
For 29 minutes, Alexandria pelted Mound Westonka goalie Taylor Smith with shots on goal. And for 29 minutes, Smith kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard.
Frustrated? Naw. Just another night at the rink for an aggressive and offensive-minded Alexandria squad, which broke a nearly two-period scoring drought with two quick goals and dispatched a young Mound Westonka squad 3-1 at Thaler Arena.
“We just had to keep the pressure up,” said Alexandria coach Molly Arola, whose team outshot Mound Westonka 21-8 but still trailed 1-0 with five minutes left in the second period. “We just had to keep shooting, whether it was going to take 100 shots or not.”
Alexandria fell far short of 100 shots on goal. But it only took 23, because with 4:54 left in the second period Marki Oberg scored the first of her two goals and 94 seconds later defenseman Mayson Toft scored what became the game-winner. Oberg scored again a few minutes into the third period to provide the final margin.
Oberg doubled her season’s goal total in the victory. She came into the game with two goals and four assists. “Tonight was her breakthrough night,” Arola said. “She’s had a lot of chances and tonight she finally found the back of the net."
The Whitehawks’ Smith turned away 37 shots in the loss. Arola said the constant pressure was the key. “That’s what you have to do against a great goalie. And she’s a very good goalie.”
Mound Westonka, coming off its only victory of the season (a 3-1 decision Tuesday at Prairie Centre), scored less than a minute into the game on ninth-grader Grace Peterson’s goal. But the offense mostly disappeared after that.
Whitehawks coaches Claire Goldsmith and Bob Kuehl attributed that to inexperience. Mound Westonka has 11 players in their first season of varsity play and 14 players in eighth or ninth grade. The youth combined with the loss of Liz Schepers, who put up nearly 90 points as a senior last season, leaves the Whitehawks with a need for seasoning. Schepers is a freshman at Ohio State this year.
“They’re still nervous with the puck,” Kuehl said.
It showed most on the power play. Mound Westonka had two power-play chances before it lost the lead and was outshot by Alexandria on both. “We’re having some growing pains,” Kuehl said. “Next year we’re going to be a pretty good team."
Goals by freshman Marki Oberg and sophomore Mayson Toft less than two minutes apart near the end of the second period lifted Alexandria to a 3-1 victory at Mound-Westonka on Friday.
Oberg scored on the power play at 12:06 and Toft scored just 94 seconds later to finally put a dent in the Whitehawks' defense. Alexandria, which had scored 10 goals in its previous two games, could not get the puck past Mound Westonka goalie Taylor Smith despite outshooting the Whitehawks 24-8 and having two power-play chances before the second-period goals.
Oberg added a second goal a minute and a half into the third period to complete the scoring.
Mound Westonka took a lead in the first minute of the game when Grace Peterson scored. But shots on goal after that were few as the Whitehawks fell to 1-5-1 on the season. Taylor made 37 saves for Mound Westonka.
Goalie Amanda Bittmann made 19 saves as Alexandria, ranked No. 8 in the Class 1A coaches' poll, won for the fifth time in six games.
Mound Westonka freshman Grace Peterson races toward the puck. Peterson scored the game's first goal to give the Whitehawks a 1-0 lead a minute into the game. Photo by Mark Hvidsten, SportsEngine