Champion Cougars deal Tigers 8-1 loss
by Pat Rupp
Lakeville South, already the 2015 South Suburban Conference champion and currently ranked seventh in the Let’s Play Hockey Class 2A state poll, lived up to its reputation with a convincing 8-1 win over the Tigers Tuesday night at Schmitz-Maki Arena.
With the win, the Cougars moved to a perfect 17-0 in league play (20-3-1 overall) while the setback dipped Farmington’s marks to 12-10-1 and 8-8-1 respectively.
“The biggest difference was experience and age,” Farmington coach Jon Holmes said. “While we do have some great upperclassmen on our roster, the reality is we have young eighth and ninth graders playing a lot of minutes….Although the score did not indicate it, we actually played pretty solid hockey.”
The visitors took control early with three unanswered scores in the opening period, two by Chloe Batta who started her high school career in a Farmington uniform.
South added three more goals early in the second frame before the Tigers got on the board on a goal from Ellie Moser (from Carly Simon). The Cougars matched Moser’s goal a minute later and took a 7-1 cushion to the final break.
“They capitalized on their opportunities and we did not,” Holmes said. “We had plenty of 2-on-0's and breakaways but we just didn't find twine. When we did take a quick mental break they capitalized.
“They are a very opportunistic team and they showed us that small breaks in backchecks and mental areas that we could get away with in other games we could not in a game like this.”
The winners extended their lead to seven goals with the only score of the third period.
Batta finished with a hat trick and an assist for a four point-night against her former team. Morgan Morse added a pair of goals and an assist for the conference champs.
Emily Auge went the distance in the Farmington nets and absorbed the loss for the Tigers, finishing the night with 28 saves. The Cougars outshot the Tigers by a count of 36-24.
“This game showed us a lot,” Holmes said. “When we limit our mistakes we are able to have very significant zone time, but when we are not aware of the common risks, we are taken advantage of.
“This is probably one of the better lessons we could have had so close to playoffs. You hate to lose and you hate to lose that big, but I think we have many learning moments we can draw from.”
The Tigers say good-bye to the 2014-15 regular season this weekend with a couple of important games.
Friday night they entertain Hastings in a non-conference contest at Schmitz-Maki. The following night they travel to Eagan, to take on the Wildcats, currently ranked third in the South Suburban Conference.
Section 1AA post-season play begins next week.