GRAND RAPIDS — The Grand Rapids/Greenway (GRG) Lightning girls hockey team split a pair of games against good competition during the Lightning Tournament which was conducted during the weekend at the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids.
The Lightning shut out White Bear Lake 2-0 in play Friday night and then lost a tough 4-3 decision to Blaine in overtime on Saturday.
GRG head coach Brad Hyduke said the GRG schedule includes tough teams like Blaine and White Bear Lake for a reason, and he added that the teams love to travel north to play.
“White Bear Lake is kind of a young, remake team after they went to the state tournament last year,” said Hyduke. “They lost some firepower and they have a new coach so there are some unknowns there but they had already been tested in some games.
“Kenny Martinson made her first career start (at goaltender) on Friday and she answered with a shutout which was awesome. We also were on penalty kill for 10 or 11 of the 17 minutes in the third period which included a five-minute major. It was a good, gutty effort by the girls as we gave up only 13 shots on net. It was a good defensive effort by us.”
Hyduke said the Lightning is fortunate to have great depth at the goaltending position with Trast, a senior, along with sophomores Martinson and Makenzie Cole.
“They compete against each other in practice and the fact that we have that type of goaltending is great,” said Hyduke. “Emily Trast has been an anchor for us all year so far and we have the back end taking care of building out from the net. It was awesome seeing Kenny transitioning what she has been doing in practice to a game.”
GRG is now 3-3-1 for the season and Hyduke said it has been a good start because he knew there would be much teaching and needed growth with the team.
“It might take to January for us to get where we want to be, but we still want to see growth and I think we saw that with the good defensive effort against White Bear Lake and then they were able to play at another pace against a good Blaine team who came in undefeated and who will be one of the favorites in Section 5AA.
“You always want to win and moral victories are something we never talk about, but knowing that we played well with the message that we were right there and had a chance to win, and maybe should have won is good. For this group it has been chemistry with so many new kids in the lineup – especially at forward. It is trying to find combinations that work and I feel that we have started to find some of that. But it’s a long season and that comes and goes.
“All of our losses have been one-goal losses and we have to find ways to finish games.”
GRG blanked White Bear Lake 2-0 on Friday as sophomore GRG goaltender Kenny Martinson recorded her first varsity shutout.
The Lightning took a 1-0 advantage in the first period on a goal by Kaisa Reed.
GRG lengthened its lead to 2-0 in the second period when Mercury Bischoff found the back of the net on a power play. There was no more scoring as the Lightning took the win.
Martinson finished with 13 saves in the nets in recording the shutout for GRG. Maya Martson stopped 21 shots for White Bear Lake.
GRG 3 OT
Blaine topped GRG 4-3 in overtime on Saturday.
Blaine led 1-0 after one period on the strength of a goal by Maddie Andrle. The Lightning tied the game early in the second period on a goal by Claire Vekich.
Dani Brunette scored while Blaine was shorthanded at the 7:38 mark of the middle period but GRG was able to tie the game with a power play goal by Amber Elich with 15 seconds remaining in the period.
Both teams scored goals in the third period as Vekich scored her second goal at the 6:15 mark of the period and Blaine tied it with a goal from Brunette with 2:54 left in regulation time.
Brielle Fussy scored just 57 seconds into overtime to give Blaine the victory.
“It was just a very good back and forth game,” said Hyduke. “It was kind of like a good boxing match, going back and forth and it was just a real fun high school game to coach and watch. There were a lot of good plays made both ways from all players – forwards, defense and goalies.”
Emily Trast had 27 saves in the nets for the Lightning while Hailey Hansen stopped 30 shots for Blaine.
“We got a breakaway right away in overtime by Claire (Vekich) but she wasn’t able to capitalize,” said Hyduke. “Then one of their better players came down on a partial breakaway and was able to slip one past Emily. So, the game finished much like how the game went, which was back-and-forth type of play.
“I was really proud of the effort. I have to think we have one of the younger teams in Class AA hockey this year and it felt like the first time we looked like a high school hockey team that is starting to figure some things out.”
The Lightning played Eveleth-Gilbert on Tuesday at home on a 7 p.m. game and then will play host to Shakopee in a 2 p.m. game Saturday at the IRA Civic Center.
“Eveleth-Gilbert has one nice line and a good goalie but they are maybe not as deep as we are so we are going to use our depth,” said Hyduke. “We need to make sure we stay on top of their talented top line.
“Shakopee is another top 20 Cities team coming up here with two or three Division I commits that will challenge us. They are off to a nice start at 4-1 so we are looking forward to seeing them for the first time. I am just excited about the progress of the group and it’s been awhile since it was about being patient, about getting better every day. Now it is time to turn some of these close scores against better teams our way.”
WBL 0 0 0 – 0
GRG 1 1 0 – 2
First period: 1. GRG, Kaisa Reed, 5:19.
Second period: 2. GRG, Mercury Bischoff (Jordan Troumbly), 14:27 (pp).
Third period: No scoring.
Goalie saves: Maya Martson, WBL, 8-6-7-21; Kenny Martinson, GRG, 3-4-6-13; Total penalties: WBL 3-for-6 minutes; GRG 5-for-13 minutes.
Blaine 1 1 1 1 – 4
GRG 0 2 1 0 – 3
First period: 1. B, Maddie Andrle (Brielle Fussy, Kayla Blesi, 5:08.
Second period: 2. GRG, Claire Vekich (Hannah Mark), 5:03; 3. B, Dani Brunette, 7:38 (sh); 4. GRG, Amber Elich (Jordan Troumbly, Mercury Bischoff), 16:45 (pp).
Third period: 5. GRG, Vekich (Kayden Broking, Kaisa Reed), 6:15; 6. B, Brunette, 14:06.
Overtime: 7. B, Fussy (Andrle, Kaitlyn Ronn), 0:57.
Goalie saves: Hailey Hansen, B, 9-9-10-1-30; Emily Trast, GRG, 10-7-9-1-27; Total penalties: Blaine 5-for-10 minutes; GRG 1-for-2 minutes.