In the eight-team Blaine High School Mid-Winter Border Battle between five Minnesota teams and three Wisconsin teams over the weekend, the Forest Lake girls hockey team came away with second place.
The Rangers first faced Hayward-Spooner on Thursday, Dec. 26, in the opening round and defeated the Wisconsin team 6-1. Ninth-grader Madi Nolan recorded a hat trick.
Head coach Ryan Sauter said the high-scoring game was a morale booster for his girls.
“It was nice to finally score more than two or three goals — you could just see how energized the girls were by scoring more than usual,” Sauter said.
In the semifinal against Orono, the Rangers survived a nail-biter that remained tied at two through overtime, prompting a shoot-out.
Sauter said both squads went through seven or eight shooters before Forest Lake scored the winning goal. Junior Kennedy Crever scored high off the crossbar following a goal by Orono to keep her squad in the running. Eighth-grader Kayla Kasel earned the go-ahead goal to place Forest Lake in the finals.
Sophomore Kaylee Remington recorded a stellar game in goal with 42 saves.
“Kaylee played phenomenally throughout the game and only allowed one Orono shooter to score in the shoot-out — outstanding,” Sauter said.
“It was a cool atmosphere for the girls, too, since the teams for the next game were ready in the arena and the crowd has shuffled in from the other games to watch the shoot-out. It was a full arena and just a neat stage for the girls.”
Forest Lake went on to the finals against No. 10 Blaine (Class AA), falling 5-0 to the Bengals while taking just 12 shots on goal. Remington recorded 28 saves. Blaine outscored its opponents, 19-1, throughout the tournament to capture the title.
Sauter said he was proud of the intensity the Rangers showed across the three days as they played without bringing up any junior varsity players, who also took second place in the Blaine JV tournament.
“They logged a lot of ice time over those three days,” Sauter said. “They battled hard, had a lot of intensity, energy, and I liked their positivity with each other.”
The Rangers are now 6-6-2 and travel to Roseville for a 7:30 p.m. game on Saturday, Jan. 4.