Tigers Cop Second-Place Tie in South Suburban
Yet another one-goal game went in Farmington’s favor on Saturday afternoon at Apple Valley Arena as the visiting Tigers claimed a 3-2 victory over the host Eastview Lightning in the regular-season finale for both teams. The team’s fourth-straight win avenged a 1-0 loss to the Lightning at Schmitz-Maki Arena on Dec. 21.
Farmington finished with an impressive 19-7 overall mark and went 12-5 in the South Suburban Conference, good for a second-place tie with Lakeville South behind league champion Eagan (14-2-1). Lakeville North was fourth in loop play with a 10-6-1 record with Shakopee fifth at 8-7-2. Eastview finished 4-12-1, good for seventh-place in the 10-team conference.
FHS staked themselves to a 2-0 lead in the initial period. Senior Emily Rubins netted a nifty goal at 5:23 when she completed a well-executed two-on-one with sophomore linemate Izzy Zwart to beat Eastview sophomore Amelia Julian in goal for the Lightning. It was Rubin’s seventh goal of the year. Eighth-grade forward Claire Enright tallied her 10th goal at 9:02 to give the Tigers a 2-0 lead. After forcing an Eastview turnover in their defensive zone, Farmington zipped up the ice on a 3-2 with Enright jamming the puck in the net on the back door after classy passes from freshman Carly Lancaster and junior Marissa Agerter. Eastview outshot Farmington 11-7 in the first 17 minutes.
“We jumped out right away on the board and then set the cruise control at a comfortable level where we did just enough to keep things in our favor,” said Tiger head coach Jon Holmes. “It was our third game in three days and it started to wear on us. I am proud of how we finished the final three-game stretch and to finish the regular-season with four wins in a row.”
Ellie Moser scored her 31st goal of the season and her 43rd point in 26 games when she blasted a rocket from the high slot to beat Julian on the blocker side at 1:34 of the middle period to give Farmington what seemed like a commanding lead with senior Savanna Tucker assisting.
The pesky Lightning, however, scored twice late in the period to cut the Tiger lead to 3-2. Eastview got on the board with 1:15 left in the stanza with a power-play goal from eighth-grader Nora Stepan with Avery Chesek and Kati Quaintance credited with the helpers. Just 45 seconds later, Mikayla Kelley took a pass from Holly Sodomka to beat Tiger senior netminder Emily Auge.
There was no scoring in the final period with Farmington outshooting Eastview 10-7 in the final 17 minutes. The Tigers are comfortable playing in tight games and Auge finished with 27 saves to earn her ninth victory. Julian, who played every minute for the Lightning in goal this season, totaled 24 for Herb Harvey’s outfit. The Tigers were whistled for three penalties and they were scoreless in their only situation with an extra skater.
Holmes added, “It was nice to see all three lines score a goal in the game and each of them were pretty plays and fun to watch. We knew we controlled our destiny in whether we could get second-place in the conference and also getting the top seed in our section and winning out at the end keeps both of those in our possession.”
The Section 1AA playoffs begin this week with the Tigers the top seed and hoping for a chance to return to the state tournament. With solid goaltending from the senior tandem of Auge and Abby Bollig, a potent power-play and depth throughout the lineup, Farmington has a good shot to make it to the “Big Show”. And yes, they possess a true game-breaker in senior captain Ellie Moser, who is one of the state’s best snipers. Most importantly, they are battle-tested in tight games and have the confidence to play their best when the game is on the line.