Girls hockey: Tigers defend home ice at ClassicFarmington scored early and often and rolled past Hastings 6-2 in the championship game of the sixth-annual Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic last Thursday at Schmitz-Maki Arena.
By: Matt Steichen, The Farmington Independent
Farmington scored early and often and rolled past Hastings 6-2 in the championship game of the sixth-annual Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic last Thursday at Schmitz-Maki Arena.
It was the Tigers’ second title at their home tournament, their first since the first event in 2005. Senior forward Krystal Baumann (five goals, four assists) was named tournament Most Valuable Player, senior forward Hannah Alexander (four goals, four assists) earned a spot on the all-tournament team and junior goaltender Jessica Erchul (71 saves) was named the all-tournament goaltender.
The three-day performance helped the Tigers improve to 9-5 overall after entering the tournament just a game above .500. They’re alone atop the Missota Conference at 4-0 and league play continues this week with games against Holy Angels and Northfield.
“Winning this tourney was a big goal of ours and it has proven that we have made some good strides in our ability to compete and beat top-end teams over the first half of the year,” Farmington coach Jon Holmes said.
Apple Valley 1
The Tigers got their biggest scare from the only team that entered the tournament with a losing record.
Apple Valley, which brought a 4-7 mark into last Tuesday’s opener, got on the board first and held a 1-0 advantage until Chloe Batta found the net 8:34 into the second period.
The Tigers, coming off a 1-0 loss to Rochester Mayo, continued to struggle finding the net while out-shooting Apple Valley 38-21. It took until Alexander’s goal on a pass from Baumann 32 seconds into the third period for the home team to finally move ahead.
“Hannah continued to be an outright rock star when it comes to consistency in the Apple Valley game,” Holmes said. “She comes every day ready to work hard in corners, crash the net, and be a leader. She is a very instinctive player and does a fantastic job exploiting an opposing teams defense when they double team or pay all their attention to Krystal. They really are the classic 1-2 punch.”
Cottage Grove 0
Park of Cottage Grove came into Wednesday night’s semifinal at Schmitz-Maki Arena averaging over five goals per game during a four-game winning streak that included a 5-1 win over a ranked Eastview squad in Tuesday’s opening round.
But the Wolfpack had no answer for Erchul, who stopped all 26 shots she faced in a 5-0 Farmington win.
“It wasn’t like we went out there and blew them off the ice. Had Erchul not been locked in the score could have been much closer,” Holmes said. “It has been great to see our defensive zone get better to help Erch out, but it has also been fantastic to see Erch becoming more and more comfortable in between the pipes.”
The Tiger offense also got on track, connecting on five of 30 shots. Baumann turned in a hat trick and dished out two assists, and Batta and Alexander each notched goals.
The Tigers successfully cooled off another hot team in Thursday night’s finals.
Hastings entered having edged ranked teams from Rosemount and Lakeville North in the first two rounds, but a power play goal by Alexander in the first minute set the tone for a 6-2 Tiger win.
Alexander scored twice in the first and Baumann scored the next two in the second before Katie Burgess and Rachel Peroutky each tacked on their first tournament goals. It was 6-0 by the time Hastings’ Courtney Boucher scored two third-period goals.
Erchul stopped 25 of 26 shots before backup Ashley Corcoran manned the nets for the final 6:21.