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Girls Hockey: Strong defense helps Tigers extend win streak to 4

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Second-year head coach Jon Holmes has been pleased with the defense played by his Farmington girls hockey team over the last four games.

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The Tigers have allowed just two goals in a stretch of four straight victories, the latest a 4-0 shutout of Prior Lake in last Tuesday's Missota Conference opener at Dakotah Ice Center. But Holmes knows the real test for his defense will come this week when the Tigers take on Lakeville South and Lakeville North in a pair of non-conference showdowns.

"We tightened down our defensive zone a little bit and as the year goes on the players learn the system and learn their positions a little better," Holmes said. "Also, the four teams we have played since then have not been of the caliber Hastings was. We did make some positive changes, but hopefully all that, plus the work we've done in practice, will make due in these next two games."

Whatever changes the Tigers made defensively after a season-opening 4-2 loss to Hastings helped them shut out a Prior Lake team they beat by scores of 3-1 and 5-2 during last season's league schedule.

"Prior Lake played well. They have a good squad there. They were a good team to play our first conference game against," Holmes said. "It basically prepped us for the fact that there aren't going to be any easy games in the Missota. Every game we have to approach as do-or-die, basically."

Sophomore Krystal Baumann opened the scoring last Tuesday with a goal on an assist from Laura Dahl at the 12:36 mark of the first period. The score stayed 1-0 until the last minute of the second period when freshman Grace Gavin scored her first goal of the season on a pass from Betsy Anderson.

In the final 17 minutes, Baumann added her team-leading eighth goal and (assist from Dahl) and seventh-grader Haley Doll scored her first goal of the season to salt away the victory.

"The offense is coming along," Holmes said. "The nice thing about the Prior Lake thing was we had Grace Gavin and Haley Doll score goals. It was nice to see them step up offensively. Everyone in our top two lines is going to have to continue to contribute."

Between the pipes, senior Brittany Braatz took advantage of her turn in the rotation by turning in a 10-save shutout. Freshman Jessica Erchul has turned in a pair of shutouts in her two appearances.

"They're doing what we totally expected them to do and more," Holmes said. "If we can continue to get that level of play from them all season we'll do okay."

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