Owatonna rallies to beat Packers in girls hockey (slide show)
Austin took the early lead in Thursday night's girls hockey game and had a chance to put up four points in the Big Nine Conference standings.
For one period, the Austin Packers looked like conference contenders against the Owatonna Huskies, but then it all fell apart. Repeated penalties led to scoring opportunities for the Huskies and the Packers took a 4-2 loss at Riverside Arena.
Carley Grunewald of the Packers scored the only goal of the first period. With an assist from Abby Gallaher, the goal from Grunewald put the Packers on top at the 7:26 mark.
"We played a great first period and it was clean with no penalties," Austin coach Denny Bray said. "I told the girls to watch for more to be called in the second period and we got one right away. Then, we weren't disciplined and kept committing penalties."
The parade to the penalty box for the Packers started just 12 seconds into the second period. A minute later, the Huskies incurred a penalty and it was 4-on-4 for a time.
That scenario lasted until the Packers took another penalty and put the Huskies back on the power play. This downward trend continued over the next few minutes for the Packers.
Eventually, the Huskies wound up with a two-skater advantage and they cashed in. Packers goalie Allison Hoban made a series of acrobatic saves and kept the Huskies at bay for a while, but the visitors had too many chances.
Less than four minutes into the second period, Abby Sawyer scored the first of her three goals for the Huskies and tied the game. A few minutes later, Sawyer scored again and the Huskies were on top to stay. They added another goal inside the final five minutes for a 3-1 lead.
"They're a good team and we just gave them too many power plays," Bray said. "Our defense got worn down trying to kill off all the penalties. Hoban gave us a great effort in the net, but they overwhelmed the defense in the second period."
Getting pounded on the offensive end by a commanding edge of 23-9 in shots for the second period, the Packers continued to make things easy for the Huskies. Another penalty sent the Huskies on the power play at four minutes into the third period.
Although they managed to kill off the penalty, the Packers skater was barely out of the box when Sawyer struck for her hat trick. This gave the Huskies a 4-1 lead and they had the game in hand.
Despite their desperate situation, the Austin girls didn't give up and they scored the final goal of the night. With the nature of this game over the final two periods of play, it wasn't much of a surprise that the last goal came on the power play.
Chloe Summerfield got loose in front of the Owatonna net and scored at nine minutes into the third period. The power play tally from Summerfield put the Packers back into contention with plenty of time left on the clock, but they would get no closer in the conference setback.
"The girls didn't quit and we played pretty well in the third period," the coach concluded. "Owatonna is in a higher section class and so we decided to only play them once this season. Those four points would have put us near the top of the conference, but we let the game get away."
Austin (5-3 overall, 3-2 Big Nine) travels to Rochester next Thursday night for a conference game against the first-place Mayo Spartans.
OWATONNA 4, AUSTIN 2
First period— Austin, Carley Grunewald (Abby Gallaher), 7:26.
Second period— Owatonna, Abby Sawyer (Emily Cochran, Kelsey Rohrig), 3:48 (pp). Owatonna, Sawyer (Payton Noble), 5:44. Owatonna, Payton Noble, 12:35.
Third period— Owatonna, Sawyer (Rohrig, Noble), 5:12. Austin, Chloe Summerfield (Kennedy Thompson, Grunewald), 9:00 (pp).
Shots-on-goal— Owatonna 8-23-9—40. Austin 11-9-17—37.
Goalies— Owatonna, Mallorie Dietz (37 shots, 35 saves). Austin, Allison Hoban (40 shots, 36 saves).
Penalties— Owatonna 5-10, Austin 5-10.