Mustangs stay within striking distance in SEC

The section playoffs for high school girls hockey aren’t that far away but for Mounds View there is something else occupying the focus right now. The Mustangs are smack dab in the middle of the chase for a Suburban East Conference championship and that is the most immediate goal.

The last two SEC titles went to Cretin-Derham Hall and the Raiders entered this week tied for the lead. Mounds View trails the Raiders by a game in the loss column and are hoping that the season finale against Cretin will have something riding on it.

“Cretin is one the teams we’re battling with for the conference title and they’re loaded,” said Mounds View head coach Aaron Moberg. “They’re very talented and we’ll get another crack at them in the last game of the season. We’re excited about that.”

The Raiders won the first meeting between the two teams 4-1 back on Jan. 3.

Mounds View started out the season 8-2 and is 6-4 since Christmas. 

Another goal for the Mustangs is to get healthy as the post-season approaches. Mounds View is missing a pair of top defensemen and Moberg is hopeful they’ll be back soon.

Mounds View went 2-1 last week and started it off with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Stillwater on Jan. 17. The game was scoreless after two periods but Lauren Jahnke changed that 9:38 into the third. From there, the Mustangs fought off the Ponies’ late charge.

“Stillwater is always tough to play against,” Moberg said. “We’ve probably won only a couple of games here in the history of our program so it’s always good to beat those guys. Our four D just played gritty hockey tonight and we found a way to get it done.”

Sophomore goaltender Teagan Johnson helped with that by making 23 saves to record her third shutout of the season. Johnson also blanked East Ridge and White Bear Lake prior to the holidays.

“We knew coming in that she was a key player and we’ll go as far as she takes us,” Moberg said of Johnson. “The girls love playing in front of her. She’s such a “team-first” kid and when you have a goalie all the kids love they take a little extra pride in front of the net to protect her.”

Mounds View followed up the Stillwater win by hosting Forest Lake, which also has designs on the Suburban East crown. The Rangers peppered Johnson with 37 shots on goal and came away with a 4-1 victory.

The Mustangs have shown the ability to bounce back following a loss and they did it again last week. Mounds View had not lost back-to-back games this season and kept that mark intact by beating White Bear Lake 4-2 on Jan. 21.

With the game tied at 1-1 in the second period, Stephanie Anderson scored a pair of goals to put Mounds View in front for good. Anderson also added an assist for a three-point game while Kaiya Quam, who recently returned from injury, added a goal and an assist.

Johnson picked up the victory by stopping 27 of the 29 shots she faced.

“These girls are so resilient in bouncing back and finding a way to not let one loss turn into two,” said Moberg.

That Mounds View is contending for the conference title is probably surprising to those who look at the player statistics and see that the Mustangs don’t have a player in the top 15 in scoring in the SEC.

“We don’t have superstars,” Moberg said. “They believe that defense wins championships so they sell out to that.”

Anderson and Lisa Nadeau are tied for 16th in the Suburban East in points with 14 apiece. Nadeau leads the team in assists with 10 and Rachel Anderson is team’s top goal scorer with 12.

Mounds View takes a break from conference play for a few days this week and plays a pair of non-conference contests. The Mustangs hosted Faribault on Jan. 23, past the deadline for this edition of the Bulletin.

Next up for the Mustangs is meeting with district rival Irondale/St. Anthony on Jan. 26. Mounds View then returns to conference play on Jan. 28 with a trip to Forest Lake.

The regular season then wraps up next week with a trip to Park-Cottage Grove on Jan. 31 and a visit from Cretin-Derham Hall on Feb. 3.

 

Irondale/St. Anthony

The Knights haven’t been able to bank too many victories this season but they entered this week riding a three-game winning streak. Irondale won twice last week to go along with a shutout victory the previous week.

The streak began with a 2-0 blanking of Totino-Grace on Jan. 10. Irondale senior goalie Hannah Rupp turned away all 31 shots she faced to earn the shutout victory. It was her second shutout of the season to go along with a 46-save performance in a 4-0 win over Anoka on Nov. 29.

The win also earned Rupp the girls hockey player of the week award on mngirlshockeyhub.com. She and nine other players were nominated for the award and Rupp won the online vote.

Win No. 2 in the streak came on Jan. 17 in dramatic fashion. The Knights erased a two-goal, third-period deficit and then won the game 3-2 in overtime.

Trailing 2-0 going to the third, Irondale made it a one-goal game with 6:11 to play on Abby Bollensen’s even strength goal that was assisted by Emma Beckman. Anna Cheney then tied with a power play goal with 3:02 left in the third as Megan Lyke added the assist.

Overtime didn’t last very long as Mary Herstel bagged the game-winning goal with just 18 seconds elapsed. Lyke notched the assist on the goal to finish with a two-point night. 

Rupp finished with 24 saves to pick up the victory.

Irondale then closed out the week with a 5-1 victory over Armstrong/Cooper on Jan. 21. Bollensen had quite the game as she scored four of the Knights five goals. 

Bollensen, a senior, got things going with an unassisted goal late in the first period and she added her second score less than two minutes into the second. India Charles scored to make it 3-0 about midway through the second and Bollensen completed her hat trick a minute later with a power-play goal.

The only goal of the third period went to Bollensen, who notched her second unassisted goal of the game.

Bollensen’s hat trick was the third of the season for an Irondale/St. Anthony player. Lyke has the other two and she got them in back-to-back games. She scored three goals in an 8-2 win over North Metro on Dec. 10 and did it again three days later in a 6-6 tie against Armstrong/Cooper.

Rupp made 20 saves and the only blemish came late in the second period as Armstrong/Cooper foiled her shutout bid with five minutes remaining.

Irondale is in action three times this week as the regular season nears its completion. The Knights face Spring Lake Park/Coon Rapids on Jan. 24 at Fogerty Arena before playing a pair of games at the Super Rink. The first of those is against Mounds View on Jan. 26 and the other is a 3 p.m. game on Jan. 28 against Totino-Grace.

The Knights then close out the regular season on Feb. 2 at home against Maple Grove.

 

Brian Meyers can be reached at bmeyers@lillienews.com or 651-748-7819. Follow him on Twitter @BMeyersNews.

 

 

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