Eagles Fly by Tigers in Season Opener
By Pat Rupp
Apple Valley used an explosive first period to defeat Farmington 6-2 in a South Suburban Conference girls’ hockey game played Saturday at the Apple Valley Sports Arena.
It was the season opener for the young Tigers who have a roster dominated by underclassmen. The veteran Eagles opened their 2022-23 campaign with an 8-4 rout of Bloomington Jefferson.
Valley forward Avery Ryan scored just 35 seconds into the game and Makayla Moran added two more first period scores to give the Eagles a commanding 3-0 lead heading to the first break.
“The rest of the game we showed a lot of promise,” Farmington coach Jon Holmes said, “but we had a handful of players who were nervous and they played with a ton of trepidation early. That never bodes well in a hockey game.”
Holmes did find a silver lining in his team’s opening period play. The Tigers had only one power play in the first 17 minutes, but during the two-minute player advantage, they managed seven shots on Eagle goaltender Elanor Carlson.
“That’s sort of got our motor going,” Holmes said.
Farmington’s Amelia Goblirsch, a seventh-grader, got her team on the board 5:23 into the second period to make it a one-goal deficit going into the final frame. The Tigers outshot their hosts 16-14 in the second period.
“The final two periods the rink was definitely tilted in our direction,” Holmes said. “Half of our shots were legitimate scoring opportunities…”Our shooting targets are something we will have to improve on. We put a lot of pucks right into the middle of the goalie’s chest protector.”
Abby Gehrke pulled the visitors to within a goal in the first minute of the third period on an assist from Katie Klotz but the Eagles put the game away with three scores in the game’s final six minutes. The final two goals came on an empty-netters just before the final horn sounded.
The Eagles finished the game with a 46-35 edge in shots on goal. Senior netminder Kieley Curow finished with 41 saves for the Tigers.
Despite the final outcome, Holmes said overall he was pleased with his young team’s effort.
“Playing like that against a bigger, more experienced team and walking away having the better of play for two periods is something to build on,” he said.
The Tigers don’t have much time to ponder the loss. They return to action Tuesday night against conference rival Lakeville South at Schmitz-Maki Arena.