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Gallery: Tigers fall against Cougars

Maddy Carstens of Albert Lea skates with the puck, while Mankato East/Loyola's Taylor Kanstrup defends Tuesday at Albert Lea City Arena. Carstens scored a pair of goals in the Tigers' loss. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Maddy Carstens of Albert Lea skates with the puck, while Mankato East/Loyola’s Taylor Kanstrup defends Tuesday at Albert Lea City Arena. Carstens scored a pair of goals in the Tigers’ loss. — Micah Bader/Albert Lea Tribune

Despite dealing with Mankato East/Loyola’s forwards in her grill most of the game, Albert Lea’s Katie Schwarz stayed strong in the goal with 49 saves.

The Cougars had twice as many shots on goal in the third period than the Tigers mustered in the entire game, and Mankato East/Loyola won 7-2 Tuesday at Albert Lea City Arena.

Even with the bombardment, Schwarz had a save percentage of 89, while the Cougars’ Katie Paulsen stopped 12-of-14 shots for a save percentage of 86.

“That’s what she’s in there for,” said Albert Lea coach Jason Fornwald. “This is a girl who’s worked her tail off for a number of years and is a great leader for this team. That’s what we expect from her, and that’s what she’s going to give us.”

The other part of the silver lining was a pair of goals by freshman forward Maddy Carstens.

Last season, Carstens scored one varsity goal, and the two against the Cougars were her first of this season, she said.

Carstens scored both goals in the second period. Mankato East/Loyola had a 4-0 lead at the end of the first period, but a minute into the second, Carstens lit the lamp to cut Albert Lea’s deficit to three. Hannah Savelkoul was credited with the assist.

“She was down below, and I was in front of the net,” Carstens said. “She passed it up to me perfectly, and I just shot it.”

The second goal was scored with 18 seconds left in the period. Again, Savelkoul fed Carstens who found an opening in front of the net.

“We’ve got some young players who are showing some nice upside,” Fornwald said. “They just need more experience at the varsity level. As that experience comes, we’re going to see more and more goals and contributing to the scoresheet.”

Albert Lea (1-4 overall) will look to underclassmen for assistance, as the team has three seniors and three juniors.

Mankato East/Loyola (1-2-1 overall) was led by senior forward Rebekah Kolstad, who had a hat trick and assisted Shoshana Bruner for the first goal of the game. Kylie Paulson added two goals, including a short-handed score in the second period.

The Tigers head into the rest of the season with uncertainty regarding the head coach position. Scott Ball was listed as the head coach through the first four games. However, he wasn’t on the sideline or listed in Tuesday’s program.

Fornwald and Bob Furland were assistant coaches at the beginning of the season. However, Furland was listed as the head coach in Tuesday’s program, and Fornwald was listed as an assistant coach.

When Fornwald and Furland were asked about the changes and what their current positions are, they said no comment.

This comes after the team had two different head coaches last season, neither of which are still with the program.

Albert Lea’s next game will be at 11 a.m. Nov. 28 at the New Prague tournament with Cambridge-Isanti, Academy of Holy Angels and New Prague.

“We’ll be working on systems and defining roles on the team,” Fornwald said. “There’s a nice core of girls in that locker room and some great leadership, and we’re going to bring our younger girls along with practice and experience.”