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Girls hockey: Goals pile up during 1-2 opening week

Farmington's Betsy Anderson brings the puck up the ice during last Thursday's 4-3 home win over Wayzata.

With seniors Krystal Baumann and Hannah Alexander anchoring the forward spots, it was expected the Farmington girls hockey team would score plenty of goals this season.

The Tigers have put the puck past opposing goalies nine times in their first three games. It's the other end of the ice that's been a problem, as three opponents combined to score 13 goals and put 114 shots on goalie Jessica Erchul in three games last week.

The Tigers bounced back from a season-opening 5-4 loss at defending Class A State runner-up Breck last Tuesday with a 4-3 home win over Wayzata, but they were back in the loss column Saturday after a 5-1 setback to a talented Lakeville South team at Schmitz-Maki Arena.

"We definitely got outplayed for two full periods. They won the races to the pucks and did a great job of crashing our net. Their players beat our defense to pucks in our zone and their forwards caught our forwards from a full zone back when backchecking," Farmington coach Jon Holmes said. "They are fast, but we need to take a lesson from their play by mimicking their willingness to play at top speed and having a sense of urgency when carrying the puck through the defensive zone and neutral zone. They have a very talented team. We will need to be ready in February when we face off against them again in playoffs."

The Tigers held a 17-13 shot advantage in the second period, but still saw Lakeville South up its lead with a pair of goals to go up 4-1. Baumann finally got the home team in the scoring column with her sixth goal of the season on the power play at the 7:24 mark. The assist went to Alexander.

Erchul finished with 39 saves, while South's Chelsea Laden stopped 33 of 34 Farmington shots.

The Tigers traded goals with Wayzata for 51 minutes in Thursday night's home opener before Baumann scored the game-winner midway through the overtime period.

Bria Donnelly opened the scoring with a goal just over two minutes into the game, then seventh-grader Chloe Batta and Alexander added goals to tie the score at 3-3 by the end of regulation. Batta also had two assists and Baumann and Alexander each added one.

"This was a good game to play, watch and coach. It had all the elements of a fun, barn-burner Minnesota high school hockey game," Holmes said. "It was great to see the scoring get passed around the team and even better to watch us play a full game. We never gave up and took our commitment to win through overtime. Fortunately, the overtime did not last too long."

In the season opener last Tuesday, The Tigers saw a two-goal lead slip away late in the third period as Breck slapped the puck past Erchul three times in a span of less than four minutes and escaped with a 5-4 win on its home ice.

"In the third period you could almost see the wave of excitement, fear and anxiety hit our girls like a runaway zamboni," Holmes said. "I cannot pin it on any one event or single action but we played like we were trying not to lose rather than like we wanted to win."

Baumann scored all four Tiger goals, with the first three coming with assists from Alexander and the fourth on a power play that made it 4-2 early in the third period.

Erchul stopped 33 of 38 Breck shots, including 25 of the first 26 over the first two periods.

"We played two solid periods. In the first and second periods we did a nice job of playing position and taking care of the defensive end of the rink," Holmes said. "We made our fair share of mistakes, but for our first game of this season I was pleased to see their effort and execution in the first two periods."