Special teams spark winning streak
Chris Albee said one of the advantages of having a complete 20-player roster would be the ability of the Park Rapids-Menahga-Nevis-Walker-Hackensack-Akeley girls hockey team to focus on special team's play.
The Panthers relied on their special teams to defeat Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek 10-0 Thursday night and Princeton 6-1 Friday night.
In the win over LPGE/WDC at Long Prairie Thursday night, the Panthers scored two power-play goals and scored three shorthanded goals en route to recording their first shutout of the season.
Special teams played a key role in Friday night's win over Princeton at the Ted O. Johnson Ice Arena as the Panthers scored once on the power play, once shorthanded, once on a penalty shot and once into an empty net.
The Panthers, who are on a three-game winning streak, improved to 4-8 on the season.
Panthers dominate Devils
The Panthers fired 53 shots on goal while holding the Blue Devils to only five shots en route to the win at Long Prairie.
McKenna Brand assisted on a goal by Allie Bade at the 8:29 mark and scored at the 16:19 mark to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead after the first period. Jessica Gapinski, Heather Brostrom and Mady Vaudrin had assists on those two goals as the Panthers held a 28-1 advantage in shots.
Gapinski's power-play goal 20 seconds into the second period pushed the lead to 3-0. Williams and Bade assisted on that goal. Brand followed with goals at the 7:17, 10:31 and 12:51 marks to extend the lead to 6-0. Brostrom and Williams set up Brand's second goal of the game while Bade helped Brand complete her hat trick with a power-play goal. Brand followed with a shorthanded goal.
Bailee Jerger set up a goal by Williams at the 3:39 mark and Alex Pederson followed with a goal at the 4:49 mark to give the Panthers an 8-0 lead in the third period. Julia Renner and Williams ended the scoring with shorthanded goals. Jerger and Lauren Naeve assisted on Renner's goal at the 8:49 mark while Williams concluded the scoring at the 11:17 mark.
Goalie Shania Johnson stopped all five shots she faced for her first varsity shutout. Sarah Holm and Skyler Houts combined for 43 saves for the Blue Devils, who fell to 1-5 on the season.
Park Rapids 2 4 4.....10
LPGE/WDC 0 0 0.....0
FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Bade (Gapinski, Brand), 8:29. 2, Park Rapids, Brand (Brostrom, Vaudrin), 16:19. Penalties: Park Rapids 0, LPGE/WDC 1.
SECOND PERIOD: 3, Park Rapids Gapinski (Williams, Bade), :20. 4, Park Rapids, Brand (Brostrom, Williams), 7:17. 5, Park Rapids, Brand (Bade), 10:31. 6, Park Rapids, Brand (unassisted), 12:51. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, LPGE/WDC 1.
THIRD PERIOD: 7, Park Rapids, Williams (Jerger), 3:39. 8, Park Rapids, Pederson (unassisted), 4:49. 9, Park Rapids, Renner (Jerger, Naeve), 8:49. 10, Park Rapids, Williams (unassisted), 11:17. Penalties: Park Rapids 2, LPGE/WDC 3.
GOALIE SAVES: Park Rapids (Johnson) 1-3-1-5. LPGE/WDC (Holm) 26-12-x-38; (Houts) x-x-5-5.
Special teams spark win
A power-play goal by Williams, a penalty shot by Brand, an empty-net goal by Vaudrin and a shorthanded goal by Brand sparked the Panthers past Princeton.
Gapinski assisted on a goal by Brand at the 5:36 mark of the first period to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
After Princeton tied the game early in the second period, Abby Fischer and Kendra Dresow set up Ashley Thelen at the 5:14 mark for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Williams' power-play goal at the 14:38 mark gave the Panthers a 3-1 lead.
Brand converted on a penalty shot at the 4:23 mark before Vaudrin scored into an empty net with 1:22 to play to give the Panthers a 5-1 lead. Brand completed her fourth hat trick of the season with a shorthanded goal with 15 seconds remaining. Gapinski set up that goal.
Johnson finished with 26 saves for the win as the Panthers were able to skate off six penalties. The loss dropped Princeton to 2-9.
Princeton 0 1 0.....1
Park Rapids 1 2 3.....6
FIRST PERIOD: 1, Park Rapids, Brand (Gapinski), 5:36. Penalties: Princeton 2, Park Rapids 1.
SECOND PERIOD: 1, Princeton, Lindenfelser (Voce), 2:37. 2, Park Rapids, Thelen (Fischer, Dresow), 5:14. 3, Park Rapids, Williams (unassisted), 14:38. Penalties: Princeton 2, Park Rapids 1.
THIRD PERIOD: 4, Park Rapids, Brand (unassisted), 4:23. 5, Park Rapids, Vaudrin (unassisted), 15:38. 6, Park Rapids, Brand (Gapinski), 16:45. Penalties: Princeton1, Park Rapids 4.
GOALIE SAVES: Princeton (Conger) 6-6-6-18. Park Rapids (Johnson) 7-8-11-26.