Ranger hockey girls fall to Mounds View, Stillwater

Girls’ hockey took tough hits in Forest Lake last Tuesday and Thursday, with a 3-1 loss to undefeated Mounds View and 6-0 loss to Stillwater, who is tied for third in the Suburban East Conference.

On Tuesday against the Mustangs, the Rangers gave up a goal in each period. Mounds Viewcommitted six penalties on the night to the Rangers’ three, but Forest Lake could convert just one for a third-period goal by ninth-grader Kaitlyn Van Tassel off assists from senior captain Amy Enrooth and junior defender Rachel Skoglund.

Before the season’s start, head coach Ryan Sauter said the Mustangs would be the team to beat. He was right, as Mounds View is undefeated both in and out of conference play.

“They are a solid team from top to bottom,” Sauter said. “There’s not a lot of skill, but they have the drive, energy and the want to win, and that’s what we need.”

In the shutout against Stillwater, the Rangers had a tough time in net and with capitalizing on offensive opportunities, including 19 minutes of powerplay.

Forest Lake struggled themselves with penalties, recording the first three just in the first period, but came back in the third to hold the Ponies scoreless.

“I applauded them,” Sauter said. “They could have packed it up, but they came back out there and played much better in the third period.”

The head coach said his girls should take away two big lessons from the losses, including going harder to the net, all the time, all the way.

“The No. 1 thing is handling the puck,” Sauter said. “It was very evident against Stillwater that we couldn’t keep the puck under pressure and that was frustrating to watch. They kept on competing, but we need to get better at puck-handling skills.”

The Rangers travelled to East Ridge on Tuesday night. The Raptors also lost to Mounds View recently, falling 7-1. Next, the Rangers travel to Roseville on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. game.