FAIRMONT - The Faribault Falcons girls hockey team started out the 2013-14 season with a bang, finding the net six times to shut out the Fairmont Area Cardinals 6-0 in nonconference hockey action on Tuesday night at Martin County Arena.
"We gotta be able to put pucks in the net to win games," said Fairmont Area head coach Scott Kuhl. "We had our chances, but we weren't able to score."
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Falcons were able to find the net, with freshman Alexis Ferris scoring two of Faribault's three first-period goals.
SLIDING SAVE — Fairmont Area goaltender Sadie Sandersfeld slides over to stop Faribault forward Megan Johnstad’s shot as Johnstad battles Cardinal defender Tieryn Arens during season-opening hockey action Tuesday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. Fairmont Area’s Logyn Cone (third from left) and Kelsy Junkermeier (6) help defend on the play. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Falcon forward Mallory Ward carried the puck into the Cardinal zone and slid a centering pass to Ferris at the top of the crease, which she flicked into the net to take the 1-0 lead at the 14:22 mark of the first.
Less than a minute later, Ferris split a pair of Cardinal defenders and flipped a shot over the shoulder of Fairmont Area netminder Sadie Sandersfeld for a 2-0 edge.
Lexus Tatge and Megan Johnstad worked the puck back in behind Fairmont Area's net before sending it out front to Ward at the top of the crease.
Ward slid the puck just inside the post to take a 3-0 lead with 5:46 left in the opening period.
"They were a faster team than us tonight," said Kuhl. "Johnstad and Ward were really able to move the puck for them, and they had some good speed across the board. It was tough for us to compete with tonight."
Sandersfeld, who stopped 38 of 44 shots on net, kept Faribault off the scoreboard in the second period.
"We made some defensive adjustments in the second period. We moved a few players around and I think that helped to stabilize us defensively in the second period," said Kuhl.
Offensively, the Cardinals fired eight of their 24 shots on net during the middle frame. Sophomore forward Jalyssa Wilson led the Cardinal rush deep into the Falcon zone and zipped a pass to freshman linemate Taylor Nuss racing down the middle of the ice.
"We had our chances to score tonight, especially with some odd player rushes," said Kuhl. "But we are a young team, and young players don't always capitalize on those chances. Tonight we weren't able to, and that's something we need to work on."
Faribault goalie Lauren Werner turned the shot away to maintain her shutout. Werner stopped all 24 of Fairmont Area's shots on net.
"Sadie did a nice job of keeping us in the game tonight," said Kuhl. "Offensively, we need to do things better, but I thought that defensively through the first two periods we did a nice job."
Ward found the net for her second goal with 12:32 left in the game to put the Falcons up 4-0.
Johnstad carried the puck over the blue line and into the Cardinal zone before dropping a pass to Ward in the slot for the wrister.
Tatge then got her chance to light the lamp, scoring 32 seconds later. After Alexis Sanborn ripped a shot that bounced off Sandersfeld's leg pad, Tatge put home the rebound to go ahead 5-0.
Shae McDonough proved to be in the right spot at the right time for the final Falcon goal, tipping a blast from the blue line by defender Chelsie Nawrocki past Sandersfeld for the 6-0 win.
Fairmont Area (0-1) plays host to Marshall at 7 p.m. Thursday at Martin County Arena. Faribault (1-0) faces Mankato East/Loyola at 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Mankato.
Fairmont Area 0-0-0-0
FB - Alexis Ferris (Mallory Ward), 14:22.
FB - Ferris (unassisted), 13:41.
FB - Ward (Lexus Tatge, Megan Johnstad), 5:46.
FB - Ward (Johnstad), 12:32.
FB - Tatge (Alexis Sanborn), 12:00.
FB - Shae McDonough (Chelsie Nawrocki), 9:44.
Saves: Sadie Sanderfeld (FA) 14-10-14-38; Lauren Werner (FB) 9-8-7-24.
Shots on goal: Fairmont Area: 9-8-7-24; Faribault 17-10-17-44.
Penalties: Fairmont Area 3 for six minutes; Faribault 4 for 8.