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Hill-Murray shuts out rival Simley to keep perfect league record intact

By Dominic Davis, SportsEngine, 12/10/19, 4:15PM CST

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The Pioneers improved to 3-0 in the Metro East Conference standings behind Nina Steigauf's two-goal effort.

Hill-Murray senior goalie Rachel Kennedy gets a shutout Tuesday night against Simley, with the Pioneers winning 4-0 in Inver Grove Heights. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

Hill-Murray senior goalie Rachel Kennedy gets a shutout Tuesday night against Simley, with the Pioneers winning 4-0 in Inver Grove Heights. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

Hill-Murray senior forward Nina Steigauf continued her hot start to the season Tuesday, as she recorded two goals and an assist in a 4-0 Metro East Conference victory over Simley. 

Steigauf’s shot, which Pioneers co-head coach Caesare Engstrom said is her greatest weapon on the ice, caused problems for the Spartans, who are ranked No. 8 in the Class 1A coaches’ poll, throughout the shutout. 

In addition to Steigauf’s shot being on target, chemistry also seemed prevalent in the Pioneers’ matchup against Simley.

To help prepare for games, Hill-Murray (7-3-1, 3-0-0) teammates sing on the team bus on the way to the rink to help players focus and get dialed in. “Hannah Montana” songs, which according to Steigauf is usually the music chosen for the bus choir, is what inspired the No. 9-2A Pioneers’ efforts against the league rival Spartans (5-3-0, 1-1-0) on Tuesday in Inver Grove Heights.

Steigauf  is the engine to her team’s strong bond. She wants to make all Pioneers’ players feel welcome and important. Engstrom said to stay at their best, they need Steigauf to maintain her energy level in her role as a team captain.

“What she demonstrates on the ice is a good role model for the rest of the players to see,” Engstrom said. “They kind of feed off of her energy and what she contributes on a daily basis in the game.”

The Spartans' Olivia Juers takes a shot on goal in the third period but is denied by goaltender Rachel Kennedy. Hill-Murray beat Simley 4-0 in a Metro East Conference rivalry game. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

The Spartans' Olivia Juers takes a shot on goal in the third period but is denied by goaltender Rachel Kennedy. Hill-Murray beat Simley 4-0 in a Metro East Conference rivalry game. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

First Report

Hill-Murray took care of business Tuesday behind a two-goal performance from Nina Steigauf who helped the Pioneers take down Metro East Conference rival Simley 4-0 at Veterans Memorial Community Center Ice Arenas in Inver Grove Heights to remain unbeaten in league play.

Steigauf put the Pioneers (7-3-1, 3-0-0) in front with her ninth goal of the season in the first period. Simley (5-3-0, 1-1-0) came close to tying it minutes later on the counter, but Hill-Murray goalie Rachel Kennedy blocked the potential game-tying shot.

The Pioneers, ranked No. 9 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll, increased their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Delaney Fabian scored with an assist from Anna Vlaisavljevich and Sammy Bever. Simley generated four scoring opportunities during the period but the No. 8-1A Spartans couldn’t beat Kennedy in net, who finished the game with 14 saves.

Simley goalie Hailey Ries made 19 saves to try and keep the Spartans in the game, but the Pioneers added two more goals in the third, including Steigauf’s second tally, to make the comeback unobtainable. Kristin Kaufman had Hill-Murray’s other goal in the period.

Simley goalie Hailey Reis had 19 saves at home Tuesday in the Spartans' 4-0 loss to Hill-Murray. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

Simley goalie Hailey Reis had 19 saves at home Tuesday in the Spartans' 4-0 loss to Hill-Murray. Photo by Earl J. Ebensteiner, SportsEngine

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