Girls’ hockey plays shutout game against rival Minnetonka

Thomas Muenzberg, Staff Writer

In a battle of the top two girls’ hockey teams in the state, the second ranked Red Knights shut out the top ranked Minnetonka Skippers in a 3-0 win in front of a large crowd at Pagel Activity Center on Tuesday, December 18.

Both teams were held scoreless in the first period despite the fact that the Red Knights outshot the Skippers 10-4. However, the game flowed nicely as there were very few stoppages throughout the entire period.

The second period started off with a bang as senior Red Knight defenseman Liv Halvorson went end to end, shot, and pounded in her own rebound past the Skippers’ goalie, Sydney Rossman. “It’s always exciting to score against good teams like Tonka. Especially since they have one of the top goalies in the state,” Halvorson said.

After Halvorson’s goal, the second period was filled with penalties. There were two stretches during the period when Minnetonka had a four on three advantage. During all of these power plays for the Skippers, they were relentlessly firing shots at BSM junior goalie Abbey Miller. Miller stood tall, stopping all 13 shots from the Skippers.

Midway through the second period, the Red Knights were on the penalty kill when junior forward Ali Praus drove past the defense and slid a beautiful pass to fellow junior forward Kelly Pannek. Pannek leads the Red Knights in points with 31 points in the first 11 games. “Ali beat three defenders to the the puck and set me up with a beautiful pass in the slot where I was all alone. They have a great goalie in Sydney Rossman, and those are the opportunities we have to bury. Fortunately enough, I did,” Pannek said.

The Red Knights seemed to put on a “bend, don’t break” type of mindset in the third period as they weren’t as offensively intense like they had been in the first two periods. It was apparent that the Red Knights defense was frustrating the Skippers, but Minnetonka continued their pressure. The pressure was amped up when the Skippers pulled Rossman to give them a man advantage. Junior forward Caitlin Reilly took advantage of the opportunity as she fired in an empty-netter from out near the red line, putting the Red Knights up to the final score of 3-0.

Abbey Miller had 26 saves to complete her third shutout of the season, with all three coming from games against some of the state’s top 10 teams. Miller now leads the state in both save percentage and goals against average.

These two powerhouses have the possibility to meet twice more this season as they are both in the Eden Pairie Mid-Winter Meltdown tournament just after Christmas. They are also in the same section, where they look to meet in the final for the third straight year. “It was big for us to get the win, but we can’t be completely satisfied with it. We still need to get the win against them is sections. That’s what matters most,” Miller said.