Hockey girls earns No. 1 seed in section tournament

The Forest Lake girls’ hockey team shut out Park last Tuesday in a 3-0 effort before falling in overtime to Woodbury over the weekend to close regular-season play.

While the Rangers lost by one after losing a 3-0 lead in a Dec. 22 matchup against the Wolfpack, they made sure to close the door this time around.

Eighth-grader Madi Nolan jumpstarted the offense two minutes into the second period by scoring off an assist by ninth-grader Kaitlyn VanTassel.

VanTassel found the back of the net herself in the first minute of the final period off passes from eighth-grader Maddie Kolbow and Nolan.

In a physical game riddled with penalties (Park served 25 minutes) Forest Lake took advantage of the mismatch with help from the powerplay unit of Nolan and sophomores Kennedy Crever and Kayla Brust.

The trio won the faceoff in Wolfpack territory and with the puck right in front of Park’s net, Brust poked the puck out from the reach of the opposing goalie. The clear gave Crever the space she needed to send the puck into the back of the net.

“It was a really heads-up play by Kayla to push that puck away from the crease,” head coach Ryan Sauter said.

Senior Abbi White earned the shutout in net with 22 stops.

On Saturday, the Rangers struggled with intensity and lost to the Royals, 2-1, in extended play.

“It was just a lazy afternoon game,” Sauter said. “I don’t know if we just looked beyond Woodbury or what. The X’s and O’s were there, but there was just no get-up-and-go.”

Seventh-grader Kayla Kasel was the lone scorer for Forest Lake. Her shot hopped just over the stick of Woodbury’s goalie in the second period.

The Royals broke down the Ranger defense in a one-on-one play less than two minutes into overtime and scored on a rebound to capture the win.

White stopped 32 of 34 shots on goal.

Forest Lake closed the regular season with a Suburban East Conference record of 7-10 and overall record of 13-10-2 to earn the No. 1 seed in Section 7AA. The Rangers will face the winner of tonight’s first-round matchup of fourth-seeded Grand Rapids and fifth-seeded Duluth at home on Saturday at 3 p.m.