Wildcats defeat Raiders and Huskies
After an up and down first four games, the Dodge Couty girls’ hockey team got back on track by beating Hastings 6-1 on Saturday, Nov. 23.
Dodge County got the scoring started when Malia Schubert’s shot zoomed past the Hastings goalkeeper Alexis Steinke. She was assisted by Katelyn Courteau.
Just over a minute later, Kennedy Kraus increased the Wildcats’ lead to 2-0 with an unassisted short-handed goal.
Hastings’ Jaida Hanson scored an even strength goal to trim Dodge County’s lead to 2-1.
After a scoreless second period, the Wildcats still led 2-1. Despite leading, Head Coach Jeremy Gunderson made a couple changes before the third period started.
First, he replaced Sky Hughes who had blocked 11 of 12 shots throughout the first two periods with Annabel Smith who blocked all eight shots she faced.
He said both goalies were solid, and he made the switch because Hughes had gotten hit in the Lakeville South game and with the game getting more intense he didn’t want her to get hurt again.
Second, he switched up some lines and that proved to be a good decision as the Wildcats scored four goals in the period.
The scoring began when Kennedy Kraus got her second goal of the game on a power play. She was assisted by Taylor Ludvigsen and Elizabeth Fagerlind.
About four minutes later, Fagerlind scored her own power play goal to give Dodge County a 4-1 lead.
However, that score didn’t last long as Malia Schubert scored an even strength less than three minutes later. She was assisted by McKenna Freerksen and Courteau.
Lastly, Kraus completed the hat trick with an even strength goal. She was assisted by Fagerlind and Freerksen.
Gunderson said Kraus played well throughout the game, especially on the power play.
“She was a beast on the power play and seemed to be in the right place at right time,” he said.
He also said Kayla and Malia Schubert both played well.
“They played good defense and provided good leadership on and off the ice,” he said.
The Wilcats’ 6-1 win is their largest margin of victory this season and increased their record to 3-2.
“It was a good team win,” said Gunderson.
Another team win occurred on Saturday, Nov. 30, when the Wildcats traveled to Owatonna and handed the Huskies a 3-0 loss.
Gunderson said the win meant even more because the Huskies entered the game undefeated and had given up less than one goal per game.
Malia Schubert got the Wildcats’ first goal on a first period power play. She was assisted by Nevaeh Trihey.
In the second period, Kraus added an even strength goal to increase Dodge County’s lead to 2-0. She was assisted by Freerksen.
Kraus scored the final goal on an empty net in the third period. She was assisted by Kayla Schubert.
Gunderson said Kraus was one of their top scorers last year and continues to be a leader for the Wildcats’ offense.
“She brings a lot of speed, high energy, and grit. That’s a good combination for success,” he said.
Another player who had success against Owatonna was Sky Hughes who earned the shutout.
He was proud of how hard his team fought.
“We had a lot of sick kids with flu, they dug deep and gutted it out. They knew how important it was for the section standings,” he said.
He believes the Wildcats were better prepared for this game because they tougher competition.
“We play a much harder schedule than other teams in the area because we play teams from the metro so we’re used to we’re used to the speed,” Gunderson said. “Owatonna hadn’t seen that speed yet and they weren’t able to make plays against it.”
Even when Dodge County accrued a penalty, their defense was ready for the challenge.
The Wildcats committed five penalties throughout the game but were perfect on the penalty kill.
“Our penalty kill was really good. The kids did a really good job on special teams,” Gunderson said.
In order to perform that well when they’re down a player, he said they simulate different penalty kill scenarios in practice.
“We practice a lot of special teams and give them different looks so in the game it’s easier because they gone through pretty much every situation in practice,” he said.
Dodge County could get another opportunity to practice their penalty kill when they host Moose Lake Area at 7 p.m. on Parents’ Night, Friday, Dec. 6.