When asked, a Metro Grizzle fan at the USA International Hockey Cup tourney being held at the Schwan Super Rink this weekend, replied “all the girls on the U19 Tier II Grizzles played for Fargo (North Dakota) high schools and one came from Jamestown”. When they took the ice against the Easton Raiders composed of high school players from the Twin Cities east and southeast suburban areas in a Saturday afternoon game, they looked and played like a team that had been together for a number of years. With a number of them entering their senior year, this would likely be the last summer season on the ice together. Sometimes, time flies by.
The Raiders opened the first period with a bang, with the Raider’s Ellie Cardinal scoring from the right side off a neat pass from Molly Burke to give Easton a 1-0 lead. After that it was an evenly played game for most of the first period. The Grizzles could break out from their zone keeping control of the puck and hitting the outlet pass, but the Easton defense would breakdown the Grizzle attack at Easton’s blue line and turn the play back. Once inside the Easton zone, the Raiders defensive physical played slowed the Grizzle’s attack.
With 5 minutes left in the first period, both teams opened up play. It started with Easton pressured the Grizzle’s in the Grizzle’s zone for the first minute, but Raiders drew a penalty for too many players on the ice. That shifted the play for the rest of the period to Grizzles as they started to gain control of the puck in the Raider’s zone. The first period ended with Easton leading 1-0.
Easton opening the second period pressing the attack in the Grizzle’s zone, but couldn’t score and for the next 5 minutes, it was all Grizzles as they started to beat the Raider defense and set up in the Raider zone. Still they couldn’t score. With 11 minutes left in the second, a Grizzle drew a tripping penalty. A minute late, the Raider’s Molly Burke carried the puck deep into the Grizzle’s zone beating the defense to the outside and turning the corner along the end line. With a clear opening to the goal, she attacked the net drawing the goalie away from the near post and beat the goalie between the post and the goalie’s side to score Easton’s second goal. The Raiders led 2-0.
A minute later the Grizzle’s Starr Garret pick up the puck just inside the Easton blue line and scored unassisted on a hard shot to the net beating the goalie on the upper left side. The score remained 2-1 for the rest of the second period. Easton’s physical play on defense was starting to slow the Grizzle forwards in the Easton’s zone corners. The Grizzles had several great scoring opportunities late in the period in a 4 on 4 situation when they gained control of the puck in Easton’s zone and showed excellent teamwork in completely changing shifts without surrendering pressure on the Easton net.
The third period open with a bang with Grizzle’s Lindsay Lamont scoring at the 14 minute mark to tie the game 2-2. A delayed penalty had been called. Carly Rutter got the assist. For the next 10 minutes, the game became a wide open affair with both teams attacking. But the Grizzles were losing the physical game inside the Easton zone and Easton was getting
good shots on goal. Still, neither team could score. With 3 minutes left in the game, the Grizzles gained control in the Easton zone as the Raider defense tired. They dominated the last three minutes, but couldn’t find the net. The game ended in a 2-2 tie.
After the game, Dean Wilson, long time head coach at Fargo South High School and heavily involved with the Fargo Flyer youth program, quickly went over the game to focus on what he saw his team do well and not so well. He was enthusiastic about the growth of girls hockey in the Fargo area. A long time coach in boys hockey and a father of four girls who play hockey, one could see he liked what he was doing this weekend.
When asked how they were enjoying the weekend at Schwan tourney, Grizzle’s Mara Teschendorf and Nevada Wilson paused. Both were enthusiastic about the competition at the tourney this weekend and both were looking forward to playing their senior year of hockey starting this fall. Mara would be enrolling at the University of Wisconsin Superior in a year and would be playing hockey for the Yellow Jackets. Nevada was uncertain yet beyond high school, but both girls were a little contemplative knowing this was their last year on the Metro Grizzle’s summer team.
Sometimes it is not about hockey; sometimes it is all about friends.