Albert Lea’s newest hockey team starts season strong

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2004

Albert Lea has a new hockey team this year, girls’ 14-and-under.

Comprised of girls ranging in age from 12 to 14, the team was created in an effort to continue to expand Albert Lea’s hockey program. In its inaugural season the team is playing in District 8, which consists of mostly Twin Cities teams.

The locals lost their opener 4-3 to Woodbury. Jenna Christensen scored two goals, Missy Arnold one. Katie Nelson and Ashton Larson had assists. Kelli Hanson was the goalie.

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The team faced River Falls, Wis. the same weekend and again lost 4-3 as River Falls scored power-play goals in the final minutes. Albert Lea’s goals were by Brittney Beener, Christensen and Arnold. Laura Bledsoe had an assist. Goalie Molly Yokiel made 19 saves.

Albert Lea came on strong to beat Austin 5-4 at Packer Arena. Amy Gackstetter scored two goals while Nelson, Jade Gardner and Bledsoe netted one apiece. Christensen and Morgan Walton had assists. Hanson played well in goal, totaling 27 saves.

Albert Lea then headed to Farmington and ended up tying 1-1 in a game where both teams had many chances to score. Beener scored for Albert Lea, unassisted. Yokiel finished with 18 saves. Also having a strong game for Albert Lea were Faren Culp, Kelsey Forman, Sabra Kogel and Abby Leach.

In a strong showing, the Albert Lea girls defeated Eagan 3-1. Christensen had two goals, Nelson one, with assists going to Kelsey Forman and Nelson. Hanson got the win in goal, registering 23 saves.

Next up was the first tournament of the season, at Austin.

The locals opened with a 3-2 victory over the host team behind goals from Beener, Nelson and Kogel and assists by Kogel, Christensen, Forman and Gardner.

Albert Lea dominated Hudson, Wis. 12-2 in the semifinals. Christensen had two goals and five assists while Nelson and Gackstetter both had a hat trick. Also scoring were Kogel and Arnold. Adding assists were Christensen, Gackstetter and Kogel.

The win advanced Albert Lea to the title game against Farmington, which had beaten Albert Lea in a scrimmage. This time Albert Lea won 4-0. Nelson scored two goals, Kogel and Beener one each. Assists went to Christensen, Leach and Gardner.

Playing strong offensively and defensively throughout the tournament were Bledsoe, Culp, Walton and Larson. Hanson and Yokiel shared time in goal.

The locals continued their winning streak by beating Cottage Grove 2-1. Goals for Albert Lea were by Beener and Nelson, with an assist going to Christensen. Hanson had 20 saves.

The streak ended with a 4-2 loss to Lakeville. Nelson and Kogel scored. Christensen had an assist. Yokiel was in the net.