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Rebound goals rob New Richmond girls hockey of chance at win

New Richmond defenseman Ashley Dusek (10) reaches out to corral a puck in the first period of the Tigers' game against WSFLG last Tuesday.

New Richmond's girls hockey team played well in nearly every aspect of their game against the WSFLG Blizzard last Tuesday, but that one shortfall proved to be the difference in a 4-2 Tiger defeat.

There were several positives for the Tigers. They generated plenty of scoring chances with hard work in the corners. They played well defensively and goalie Baily Lund was at the top of her game.

The one area that stung the Tigers badly in this game was cleaning up rebounds in front of their own net. Tiger coach Emily Dabrowski said the lack of consistent effort from the forwards in the defensive zone resulted in most of the Blizzard's goals on Tuesday. She said the Blizzard had at least four shots before they were able to score their first two goals of the game in the first period. The Blizzard's fourth goal, which broke up a tight 3-2 game in the third period, also came off a rebound.

"We tell Baily that if she stops the first (shot), we should get the rest," Dabrowski said, implying that the Tigers should scoop up any rebounds that Lund allows.

After spotting the Blizzard a 3-0 lead in the first period, the Tigers fought back to make this a very competitive game. The Tigers scored twice early in the second period and the score remained 3-2 for the majority of the game.

The first Tiger goal was a welcome sight: a power play score. The play began with Emma Lepper winning a battle for control of the puck along the boards. She passed the puck back to Bailey Erickson at the point. Erickson then slid the puck across to Meghan Wolner at the other point. Wolner fired a shot that went untouched into the Blizzard goal.

The second Tiger goal also began with some dedicated work along the boards. Alice Gramenz has been earning more playing time from the coaches because of her competitive play. Gramenz was able to battle for the puck behind the net, sending a pass to Alli Wielinski in the slot. Wielinski's shot was stopped, but Kaylee Bebeau was in the right position to stuff the rebound into the goal.

Gramenz took on another role with the team this week. She began learning how to play goaltender. With Lund being a senior, the Tigers don't have anyone on the roster to step into that role next season. So Gramenz will get some practice time in goal this year to begin getting her ready for next season.

With the score 3-2, the Tigers produced several good scoring chances, but they couldn't get the tying goal.

Dabrowski said she wasn't surprised that the Tigers bounced back from a weak first period to get back into contention.

"We can be a totally different team from one period to the next," Dabrowski said. "In the second period we were winning the races (to the puck)."

The Tigers have two home games scheduled over the next week. On Thursday they will get a visit from the Woodbury (Minn.) team. Next Tuesday the Tigers host Hudson in a game that will be played at 5 p.m. at the Somerset Ice Arena.