Novas Claim First Victory with Win at Richfield in Girls Hockey
Minneapolis girls hockey team topped the Spartans, 2-0, in a game that featured 22 penalties.
The Minneapolis Novas girls hockey team shut out a short-handed Richfield squad Tuesday to earn their first victory of the season.
"It was a tough game," Minneapolis coach John Wareham said of the Novas 2-0 victory. "We persevered and got enough to win. We kept our heads in the game and showed enough poise to get it done."
The game featured 22 penalties spread evenly between the two teams. But the Novas broke free of their hosts after an evenly-played first period by firing 48 shots on senior goaltender Rebecca Hendrickson.
The Spartans countered with 27 attempts on Minneapolis netminder Hannah Hilden-Reid, who earned her first shutout of the year in her team's initial victory of the season.
Both teams were tied after the first 17 minutes of play. However, the Novas put 19 shots on Hendrickson in a second period marred with 16 penalties and recorded the only goal they would end up requiring for victory.
"It was an ugly game," Richfield head coach Jeff Caspar said.
Less than one-third of the second period was played with both teams at even strength. After coming back from a 5-on-3 disadvantage to open the period, Richfield actually briefly held a two-player edge early in the frame — only to again go down by two players due to bevy of penalties.
"The second period was crazy," Wareham said.
While Hendrickson kept the Novas at bay for over three minutes while being pelted by shot after shot, she finally gave way at 7:04. Minneapolis freshman forward Katy Fuller scored a goal off a rebound from an initial shot by junior forward Alicia Oesterreich.
It would prove to be the only score of a period interrupted eight times in seven minutes by penalty calls.
"We've been making mistakes and I expected that," Caspar said. "But we must learn from those mistakes. We can't be making the same mistakes over and over."
Richfield began the night in rough shape as three of the team's top players—senior forwards Kalie Johnson and Miranda Matuke, as well as eighth-grade forward Allea Rae—were either out with injury or sickness.
"I don't want to make excuses," Caspar said, "but a lack of depth really hurt us tonight. We had to use a second line of two eighth-graders and a seventh-grader."
The game remained in doubt until 14 seconds into the third period as senior forward Dakotah Iverson beat Hendrickson with the Novas' first shot of the final period, which put Minneapolis up by 2-0.
With her teammates blistering the Richfield net, Hilden-Reid was still counted on to make 27 saves total and hold up under three Spartans power plays in the concluding minutes of the contest to earn her clean sheet.
"We really got good play out of her," Wareham said. The victory got the Novas into the win column after Minneapolis lost its first three games of the year against Holy Family Catholic/Waconia, Apple Valley and Bloomington Kennedy.
"It's nice to get that win," Wareham said. "We've been in games and I hope the kids remain patient. "We're a work in progress and are getting things together. I think we can really take off."
The Novas will be able to relish their triumph for several days. The team is not scheduled to be back in action until Thursday, Dec. 2, when Minneapolis travels across the Mississippi River to take on the St. Paul Blades cooperative team.
"The Blades have a good team," Wareham said. "That's going to be a tough one."