Girls hockey: Back on track
After suffering back-to-back losses to Hastings and Rosemount at the Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic, the Farmington girls hockey team got some confidence back with a pair of Missota Conference victories last week.
The Tigers improved to 10-6-1 overall and 5-1 in the league with a 3-1 victory over New Prague Thursday night at Schmitz-Maki Arena. Sophomore goaltender Jessica Erchul allowed the puck to slip past her on a power play in the second period, then stopped every Trojan shot that came her way after that as she finished with 22 saves. Erchul also picked up the win Tuesday when she stopped 12 of 13 Holy Angels shots in an easy 6-1 Tiger win in Richfield. As a bonus, Erchul assisted on her second goal of the season in the second period when her pass to Rachel Peroutky led to a goal by Krystal Baumann.
"Erchul continues to play really well between the pipes for us," Farmington coach Jon Holmes said. "Erch is getting much better at playing the puck. It is great to see her mature back in the nets. Each game she gets just a little more veteran savvy. She is beginning to guard the twine very mindful of all threats while maintaining her great instinct."
Erchul's counterpart -- New Prague goaltender Shyler Sletta -- was nearly as tough on Thursday night. She faced 41 Farmington shots and stopped 39 of them. Still, the Tigers managed to escape the second period with a 2-1 lead thanks to special teams goals by Peroutky and Baumann. Baumann added her 25th goal of the season (in 13 games) in the third period to ice the game.
"This will be a big test for us when we go back to their barn late in the season," Holmes said. "Their team is well coached and they just keep coming."
Holy Angels is heading in the opposite direction. After winning over 100 games while losing fewer than 30 over the last five years, the rebuilding Stars are sitting at 2-14.
Baumann took advantage with her second four-goal game of the season. Hannah Alexander added three goals and an assist, Angie Schull had a goal and an assist and Betsy Anderson, Baumann, Peroutky and Erchul each added assists.
"Coming off the two tournament losses, this was a big win for morale," Holmes said. "Since every coach's goal is to play well come playoffs, it is nice to see us getting better every week so we can continue to get primed for a hopefully long post season run."