Eagles Come Back Against the Raptors
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This past Thursday the Apple Valley girls hockey team finished on top, defeating East Ridge 3-2, in a redemption game after last year’s six-overtime loss.
“This game was the first test of the season,” said assistant coach Michelle Gustafson. “We responded well in the third period, tying and winning the game.”
The first period was dominated by the Raptors as they began the game with most of the possession and an aggressive gameplay. They struck first with a goal seven minutes into the game, and ended the period with eleven total shots, compared to only three for the Eagles.
Apple Valley responded in the second period with a goal by Kealey Jensen. The goal changed the direction of the game, as the Eagles started to create more offensive chances and build better plays. The team was kept alive by Taylor DeForrest throughout the period, who gave a historic performance against this East Ridge team last year in the section quarterfinals.
Despite the good start to the second period by the Eagles, the Raptors were able to finish the period strong. Eleven minutes in, East Ridge got back on top with another goal. They then finished the period with nine total shots on target, vs. five shots for the Eagles.
With an explosive fast break by Emily Stehly and a great finish on the rebound by Lexi Kocken, the Eagles tied the game in the third period. After the goal, the team gained momentum, and about a minute later, Sophia Leong finished the comeback with the last goal of the game.
“The team coming together before the third period made the difference,” explained Gustafson. “They talked about the importance of this game and reminded themselves of last year’s loss in that historic game.”
The period ended with fifteen shots for East Ridge and five for Apple Valley. The Raptors had by far more shots in the game, 37-16. These stats show just how reliable the Eagles’ defense has gotten and how deadly accurate their offense is.
“Wins like these are huge for the team,” said Gustafson. “Everyone was pumped after the game.”
With this win and the win over Rosemount on Saturday, the Eagles are 4-0–their best start in four years. They are now first in the South Suburban Conference with 4 points and the best record. The team is looking forward to keeping this momentum going as they approach the big game against Lakeville South this Tuesday.