Girls skaters battle back, win at Menomonie
A brutally tough schedule with very few home games and a low number of players on the roster will make every game for the New Richmond girls hockey team a test to overcome adversity.
With every game, the Tigers are showing they can stand up to those tests.
On Saturday the Tigers played with 10 skaters in a game at Menomonie. Twice the Tigers battled back in the game, including in the closing minutes, to earn a 6-5 win over Menomonie.
The second of the comebacks came in the final six minutes. The Tigers scored two power play goals, both by senior Rachel Mullendore, to pull out the win.
Mullendore's final goal, her third of the night, came with 3:23 left in regulation. She was playing at the point on the power play. After some good passing, the puck was moved to Mullendore at the point. She skated in and fired a low shot that cleanly beat the Menomonie goaltender.
In addition to Mullendore's three goals, the Tigers also got two goals from Paige Charland and one from Chelsea Singerhouse. Charland's first goal was the spark that got the Tigers started in this game.
Menomonie led 2-0 after one period and Menomonie was on the power play early in the second period. Charland got the puck on a breakaway and scored to notch her first varsity goal.
"Both Paige and Rachel played outstanding for us," said Tiger coach John Larson. "Rachel's been huge for us. When we are down, she provides a lot of momentum swings for us."
The main problem for the Tigers in this game was stopping Menomonie freshman Shauna Bollinger. Bollinger is an exceptionally quick skater with great balance. She darted between and around Tiger defenders, scoring four of Menomonie's five goals.
Larson said Bollinger's success pointed out one of the Tigers' main needs.
"We really need to work on defensive zone coverage," Larson said.
Even with 10 skaters, the Tigers had one of their most active games in the offensive zone, producing 45 shots. Menomonie put 31 shots on goal, with Tiger goalie Ellie Tylee stopping 26 of them.
"I love the effort right now," Larson said. "Injuries, adversity, whatever, the girls battle through it."
Loss at Hudson
In many of the Tigers' games this season, the formula will be to play solidly for the first two periods. The team hopes that will leave them in a position where the Tigers can pull out wins in the third period.
That formula almost worked for the Tigers in last Tuesday's game at Hudson. When Tiger senior Rachel Mullendore scored her second goal 3:48 into the third period, the Tigers had tied the score at 2-2.
The lead lasted just six seconds. Hudson's Abby Singerhouse scored off the ensuing faceoff to put the Raiders in front 3-2. Hudson would score again midway through the third period, leading to the 4-2 Raider win.
Both Tiger goals were scored by Mullendore, the senior captain from Amery. She scored early in the second period to tie the score at 1-1. She fought off defensive pressure to make a strong drive to the net, putting a hard shot on goal that trickled through the goaltender's pads.
Mullendore's goal in the third period came when she swept across in front of the goal and fired a shot past the Hudson goalie.
Unfortunately, that goal only kept the score tied for six seconds.
"That was a back breaker," Tiger coach John Larson said of Hudson's third goal. "Even after that the girls kept fighting. We had some chances."
The Tigers' schedule isn't user friendly this year. After opening the season with a home game on Nov. 25, the Tigers don't have another home game until Jan. 9. The regular season schedule for the Tigers only includes seven home games.
This Friday the Tigers will be one the road, playing at Viroqua.