Late Eagan Goal in OT Sinks Tigers
By Pat Rupp
For the second time in as many games the Tigers played solid hockey only to come up a goal short on the scoreboard, this time a tough 1-0 overtime loss at South Suburban Conference champion Eagan Thursday night.
The Wildcats’ Jenna Ruiz slapped home the game-winner on the power play just 66 seconds before the end of the scheduled eight-minute extra session.
“While I am biased for sure, I still did not like seeing a 50/50 call against us with a minute and change left in OT that ended up deciding the game,” Farmington coach Jon Holmes said. “It was a nice puck movement play on their part where a pass threaded a very small needle from the far side down to the back door where they had an easy tip in.”
The Tigers outshot Eagan 18-8 over the first two periods but could not get the puck by Wildcat goaltender Ashley Miller who finished the night with 27 saves. Farmington sophomore goalie Ryleigh Furlong had another good night in the nets with 21 rejections.
“This was a tough one, but at the same time I am very pleased with how we played,” Holmes said. “Carly Lancaster is out with mono from our top line, and Kiersten Wood also missing with a fever, which left us playing two players that have had zero varsity experience and two others that have had very limited varsity ice time.”
Holmes said his team had more than its share of scoring opportunities. “We had some really great chances to put a few up on the board, but just didn’t convert….It also didn’t help that we spent almost 12 minutes skating off penalties.”
The loss dropped Farmington’s season record back to .500 at 11-11-2, including an 8-7-2 mark in South Suburban action.
Holmes is looking forward to the return of two upperclassmen as the post-season rapidly approaches.
Co-captain Jenna Gerold has been cleared for full contact and could see her first action of the season in Saturday's season finale with Eastview . Bailey Kelley also missed the Eagan game but was to be cleared for practice on Friday and could return as well this weekend.
One regular season game remains on the schedule, a Saturday home contest with Eastview. Then comes a seeding meeting out of which Holmes is hoping to draw a high enough seed to set up one and possibly two home games.
“Against Eagan we were much more mindful of the fine details and really limited the chances they had until that final power play,” he said. “In general, this was a very promising game heading into the playoffs. With a little time to get healthy and the dedication we have shown to team defense I am optimistic about the post-season.”
Current Section 1AA team records: Northfield 16-9-0; Lakeville North, 14-9-1; Farmington 11-11-2; Owatonna 11-10-2; Rochester Century 10-11-1; Dodge County 10-12-2; Lakeville South 7-16-1; Rochester Mayo 5-16-3 and Rochester John Marshall 4-20-0.
Farmington is a perfect 5-0 against Section 1AA opponents this season with wins over Lakeville North (2), Lakeville South (2) and Northfield.