Tigers fade against Raiders

Published 12:18 am Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A strong first period wasn’t enough for the Albert Lea girls’ hockey team Tuesday in its home opener against Northfield at the City Arena.

The Tigers (1-1-0) gave up two one-goal leads and were unable to capitalize on a number of goal-scoring opportunities in a 3-2 loss to the Raiders.

It was a rematch of the Section 1A semifinals last season when fourth-seeded Albert Lea upset the top-seeded Raiders 4-3. Northfield (1-0-1) had won the previous two meetings in the regular season and Tuesday the Raiders got back to beating the Tigers in the regular season.

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Northfield defenseman Shelby Stark sent a laser past Albert Lea goaltender Sydney Connelly from just inside the blue line with 45 seconds to play in overtime for the game-winner.

The Tigers outshot Northfield 29 to 24 in the game, including and 7-4 advantage in the first period.

“We just kind of ran flat there in the second period and then the third period was hit or miss,” said Albert Lea head coach Brian Blatti. “The first period by far was the best.”

The Tigers controlled play in the first period and it appeared they would roll to a victory. But strong goaltending from Northfield’s Sam Stark kept the Raiders in the game and Albert Lea frustrated.

Both the goals the Tigers scored required extra effort. The chances came easily for Albert Lea but finishing them didn’t.

The Tigers scored the first goal of the game when a Tasha Moyer shot deflected into the air, fell behind Stark in net, and was kicked in by a Northfield skate.

Albert Lea gave up the lead in the second period when Katie Jirik scored. The Tigers took the lead once more when Passingham scored on a shot that hit underneath the crossbar in the third period. But the Raiders came back to tie the game again when Annie Pumper was left alone at the far post and buried a rebound.

Albert Lea returns to the ice Tuesday to face Faribault at the City Arena.

Northfield 3, Albert Lea 2 OT

Northfield 0 1 1 1 — 3

Albert Lea 1 0 1 0 — 2

First Period—1, Albert Lea, Tasha Moyer 3 (unassisted), 10:23. Penalties—Sophia Jepson, Alb (interference), 6:59; Sam Stanley, Alb (hooking), 15:41.

Second Period—2, Northfield, Katie Jirik (Annie Pumper), 3:22. Penalties—Bre Freiermuth, Nor (tripping), :40; Becca Schultz, Nor (tripping), 14:26.

Third Period—3, Albert Lea, Passingham 2 (Sydney Overgaard), 3:05. 4, Northfield, Pumper (Jirik), 14:13. Penalties—Lauren Klick, Alb (body checking), 3:34; Hannah Pilger, Nor (tripping), 5:15.

Overtime—5, Northfield, Shelby Stark (unassisted), 7:15. Penalties—Moyer, Alb (body checking), 6:09.

Shots on Goal—Northfield 4-7-9-4—24. Albert Lea 7-8-8-6—29.

Power-play opportunities—Northfield 0 of 4; Albert Lea 0 of 3.

Goalies—Northfield, Sam Stark (29 shots, 27 saves). Albert Lea, Sydney Connely (24 shots, 21 saves).