Benilde-St. Margaret’s co-head coach Kelly Pannek was nowhere to be found during the Red Knights’ Metro West Conference championship game against Orono on Thursday night, except for the No. 19 banner with her name on it hanging from the ceiling at St. Louis Park Recreation Center.
Pannek obviously missed the game for the very best reason in the hockey world: She’s an Olympian playing hockey with Team USA in Beijing, China.
Pannek’s Red Knights arrived at school early on Thursday, at 7:15 a.m., so they could stream the first U.S. women’s hockey game. Pannek recorded an assist on the team’s second goal, on the power play, during its 5-2 victory over Finland.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s handed Metro West Conference foe Orono its first conference loss of the season with a 6-1 victory Thursday at St. Louis Park Recreation Center.
The Red Knights took command early with a pair of first-period goals from senior Lily Mortenson. Orono cut into the deficit on a goal from Zoe Lopez in the second, but the Red Knights regained the two-goal margin late in the period on a goal from freshman Kendall Hassler.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s built on the lead in the third period, capitalizing twice on a 5-on-3 advantage with goals from Emma Hoen and Mary Zavoral 45 seconds apart.
In goal, senior Allie Van Stelten stopped 16 shots for the Red Knights (17-5-1) while Orono junior Celia Dahl made 29 saves at the other end.
The Red Knights started the season 3-4-1 but have been on a run nearly ever since then. They’ve won 11 straight games with five of the 11 wins coming in shutout fashion and have outscored opponents 53-7 during that stretch.
Meanwhile, Class 1A No. 2-ranked Orono suffered only its third loss of the season – second in regulation — on Thursday, falling to 21-3-0. The Spartans also rode a 10-game winning streak into the game. The six goals allowed Thursday is a season-high for Orono.