FAIRMONT - For almost two minutes in the first period, the Fairmont Area girls hockey team held a 1-0 lead; unfortunately, Luverne responded with five goals in nine minutes on its way to a 6-2 nonconference win on Tuesday at Martin County Arena.
"If we could just take away that chunk of the first period, I think it would have been a 2-2 game," said Fairmont Area head coach Scott Kuhl. "The first period didn't go as we wanted it to, but we got better from there."
Taylor Nuss gave the hometown Cardinals their early lead 5 minutes and 57 seconds into the opening period with her team-leading 10th point of the season.
CLEARING?THE?PUCK — Fairmont Area’s Tieryn Arens carries the puck out of the zone during second period girls nonconference hockey action on Tuesday at the Martin County Arena. Fairmont Area’s Myah Lytle (3), Brooke Lemon (second from left), Lauren Carlson (third from right) and Logyn Cone (7) look on. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
Kelsy Junkermeier slid a pass from the right wing into the slot to Jalyssa Wilson, who fired a shot on net. Nuss, who trailed the play on the left wing then buried the rebound over the shoulder of Luverne goalie Emillie Bartels.
Luverne's Madison Crabtree evened the game with 9:38 left in the first, starting the visiting Cardinals' scoring rally.
Carly Serie blasted a shot from the point at Fairmont Area netminder Sadie Sandersfeld. Before the shot could reach Sandersfeld's blocker, though, Crabtree got a piece of the puck out in front of the net and tipped the shot just under the crossbar.
Luverne then peppered Sandersfeld, firing 20 of its 40 shots on net in the first.
Sophomore forward Madisyn Dingmann was able to generate Luverne's first lead of the game, flipping a backdoor pass from Mariah Aukes into the net with 7:46 left in the first.
Luverne's leading point scorer, Makayla Sterrett, smacked a mishandled puck past Sandersfeld just 34 seconds later for the 3-1 advantage.
Later in the period, Sterrett tallied her second point of the game when she sent an assist to Dingmann for a score to go ahead 4-1.
The final damage of the first period came off the stick of Aukes, who scored an unassisted goal with 58 seconds left in the period.
"I thought that Sadie played great for us tonight," Kuhl said of Sandersfeld's 34 saves. "In that first period, our defense couldn't clear the puck at times and Luverne got good shots that they shouldn't have had."
In the second period, Luverne added a goal to its lead, with Ellen Dahl flipping a shot over Sandersfeld's shoulder with 7:04 left in the period.
Despite Fairmont Area being held to 29 shots on goal, the hometown Cardinals were able to find an offensive spark in the third period to light the lamp.
Kelsy Junkermeier skated down the right wing on a one-on-two and slid a backhand just under the Luverne netminder's leg pad at the 11:07 mark to make the score 6-2.
"I think that overall we got better after the first period," Kuhl said. "Defensively, offensively. If you take away that run, I think it was a much closer game."
Fairmont (3-2) plays host to New Ulm in the South Central Conference opener at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Martin County Arena.
Luverne (4-1) travels to play Watertown, S.D., in the Marshall Thanksgiving Tournament at 5 p.m. Friday in Marshall.
FA - Taylor Nuss (Kelsy Junkermeier, Jalyssa Wilson), 11:03.
L - Madison Crabtree (Carly Serie), 9:38.
L - Madisyn Dingmann (Mariah Aukes), 7:46.
L - Makayla Sterrett (unassisted), 7:12.
L - Madison Dingmann (Makayla Sterrett), 1:20.
L - Mariah Aukes (unassisted), 0:58.
L - Ellen Dahl (unassisted), 7:04.
FA - Kelsy Junkermeier (unassisted), 11:07.
Shots on goal: Luverne 40; Fairmont Area 29.
Saves: Sadie Sandersfeld (FA) 15-14-5-34; Emilie Bartels (L) 7-7-13-27.
Penalties: Luverne 3 for 6 minutes.