TIGERS, EAGLES FIT TO BE TIED AGAIN
After a lackluster effort in a 2-1 overtime loss at Rosemount on Jan. 17, the Farmington High girls’ hockey team faced another tough challenge two nights later versus Apple Valley. Indeed, the Eagles tied the host Tigers 2-2 at Schmitz-Maki Arena on Dec. 6. A more-focused FHS club saw improved play but had to again settle for a tie against their neighbor rival. This time, it was a 1-1 tussle that couldn’t be decided in overtime.
“It was a fight for us to play a complete game when we didn’t have our best stuff again,” remarked Jon Holmes, Farmington’s head coach. “It was leaps and bounds better than the Rosemount game, however, plus we are battling bumps and bruises, and vacancies and we scrapped it together alright.”
Sophomore forward Carly Lancaster tallied the visitor’s lone goal at 7:03 of the initial period when she tallied shorthanded to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. Lancaster beat Eagle netminder Keni Allen, who sports an impressive 1.61 goals-against-average and a lofty .933 save percentage through 20 games. Lancaster’s goal was her sixth of the year and her 19th point, good for third behind team leaders Claire Enright (38) and Samantha Moehle (28).
Apple Valley, which has struggled to score goals all year as only two players have scored more than four goals, tied the game 1-1 just 59 seconds into the middle stanza. Sophomore defender Grace Lankas scored her fifth goal of the season with Brooke Kierzek assisting.
Allen, who had blanked Eagan 1-0 two nights previous with a 21-save effort, was matched by Farmington’s Ryleigh Furlong. Apple Valley outshot Farmington 26-18 but Furlong was stellar in net for the young Tigers, making 25 saves while Allen totaled 17. Furlong, who has started every game for FHS, now has a 2.24 goals-against average and a save percentage of .898.
The Eagles outshot the Tigers 12-5 in the final period and 3-1 in overtime. Farmington couldn’t convert on a power-play that overlapped between the end of the third period and early in overtime. Each team was 0-5 on the power-play. Holmes stated, “We certainly had some point-blank chances to put the game away but our puck luck wasn’t there and the bounces were not going in our favor.”
The Tigers stand 10-8-2 overall and 7-5-2 in the South Suburban, good enough for a third-place tie (16 points) with both Lakeville North (8-6) and Shakopee (8-6) with four league contests remaining. Eagan (12-2) still leads the league but has lost two-straight games while Lakeville North (9-5) sits in second-place. Apple Valley is now 8-9-3 overall and 4-7-3 (eighth-place) in loop play.
Coach Holmes said, “The nice part is that this team moves simultaneously on very similar wavelengths. Right now, we are on the way back up from a low point but the energy is shifting back. As we get healthier, this should be in our favor as we keep moving forward.”
Another difficult road test comes on Tuesday, Jan. 22 when the Tigers invade Aldrich Arena in Maplewood (7:30) to face ninth-ranked Hill-Murray. The Pioneers, sporting a record of 15-4-1, recently defeated second-ranked Blake and are riding a nine-game winning streak