Wingers fall 4-3 in section final
OWATONNA, Minn. — Faribault wing Shelby Salmonsen had her shot deflected up and over Red Wing goalie Lisa Nibbe at 1:48 in overtime of the Section One, Class A title game to give the Falcons a dramatic 4-3 victory over the top-seeded Wingers.
The play prompted a pigpile by Faribault and dropped a number of Wingers to their knees.
"I’m just kind of shocked," said Red Wing eighth-grader Nicole Schammel, who scored a goal with 10 seconds left in regulation to force overtime. "They got the lucky bounces and that’s the way hockey goes sometimes. Every one of their goals was pretty much off a deflection."
Red Wing, the defending section champion, outshot the Falcons 36-17 and had seven power-play opportunities. However, the second-seed played a much different game than the Jan. 23 matchup, which resulted in a 5-1 Wingers victory.
Faribault sophomore Hannah Seitz put up a virtual wall in net, making 33 saves. Coach Gretchen Dahl called it her best performance of the season. The offense also underwent an overhaul.
Red Wing standout Rose Alleva said her team controlled play 95 percent of the time in the first meeting. After senior Jackie Friedrich put the Wingers ahead 1-0 in the first period, the Falcons began applying more pressure all over the ice. Junior standout Megan Bergland did the most damage, finishing with two goals and two assists.
Still, it took three deflections to get the job done for the Falcons.
"(Nibbe) usually gives up one goal when she sees 17 shots," Red Wing coach Scott Haley said. "Unless lightning strikes — and it struck four times tonight."
The Wingers, who returned everyone from last season’s third-place finish at state, was forced to play from behind all night after Bergland’s second goal put her team up 2-1. It was Bergland’s 50th goal of the season.
"She is the fastest hockey player I’ve ever played against," Red Wing forward Paige Haley said. "Oh my gosh. She makes good decisions and is very talented."
However, Haley returned from a scary incident (see sidebar) to beat three defenders and tie the game 2-2 with 10:59 remaining in the second period. Despite the numerous rallies, the freshman thought her team finally tightened up after being dubbed the preseason favorite after the strong finish to the previous season.
"Last year we didn’t know what was going on. …It was all new," she said. "This year we knew what’s at risk. …The whole school’s counting on us to go (to state) again because they know we can do it."
Instead, the Falcons played the role the spoiler with the program’s first-ever victory over Red Wing.
"We outplayed them and outshot them," Alleva said, "but they just came out on top."