18 January 2014

Girls Hockey: Coming full circle

Breanna Raske scoerd the game-winner (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Breanna Raske's goal (from Dani Wright) with 1:08 remaining in regulation gave the Tigers a dramatic 3-2 Missota Conference win over Shakopee Friday night at Schmitz-Maki Arena.

The victory brought Farmington full circle in one of the feel-good stories of the winter season. The Tigers compiled an early 2-8-1 record before winning eight of their next 10 to even their season record at 10-10-1.

"I honestly did feel we could get back to .500," coach Jon Holmes said  "In fact. we had a team meeting going into the start of the holiday tourney and we talked about realistic goals we could accomplish if we put in the time and effort.

 "Since then we have spent every day at our new dry land facility we have constructed at Boeckman Middle School that consists of shooting tarps, stick handling areas and, of course, plenty of room for running and weights.

 "The girls held themselves accountable and made a miraculous turnaround that we knew we could make but it took nothing less then everyone's complete buy-in to do it."

Friday night's win was a grinder with the evenly matched teams trading goals until Raske's shot beat the Saber goalie over her glove side with the clock winding down.

"It was a beauty," Holmes said of the game-winner, "one of the best game-winning shots I have ever seen."

Molly Singewald stopped 24 shots (photo by Jim Lindquist)
Maddi Oines (from Megan Stivers and Michaela Tonsager) gave the Tigers an early first period lead but the Sabers countered with a goal of their own to knot the score after 17 minutes.

Ellie Moser's goal (from Raske)  at 1:24 of the second frame regained the lead for the home team but at the second break the score was back deadlocked at 2-2.

Things looked headed to overtime before Raske stepped up to score the most important goal of her career.

Molly Singewald had a big night in goal for the Tigers, stopping 24 of 26 shots and raising her season save percentage to a robust .914.

The win completed a three-win week for the Tigers who hit the ice next Tuesday when they entertain Section 1AA Owatonna at Schmitz-Maki Arena.

"We still have a goal to accomplish by the year's end, so we still have much work to do,"  Holmes said, "but in many years of coaching high school hockey, this particular group of kids really get their strengths and weaknesses and are realistic about what and how they need to do things to win."