FAIRMONT -- It wasn't until the third game of the Fairmont Area girls hockey team's season that sophomore forward Jalyssa Wilson netted her first goal of 2013-14.
Since that Nov. 19 game against Windom Area when Wilson lit the lamp for the first time this season, the forward has found a way to record at least one point in 14 of the Cardinals' 20 games.
It is not just Wilson's goal production that is lighting up the scoreboard this season, but she also has distributed a team-leading 20 assists.
APPROACH ANGLE — Fairmont Area sophomore forward Jalyssa Wilson (right) looks for an opportunity to attack from behind the net as Marshall’s Miranda Fischer (7) skates in to contest a possible pass or shot during regular-season hockey action at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. Wilson tops the Cardinals in assists this season, while sharing the top goal-scoring spot with Taylor Nuss. (Photo by Leanna Becker)
"I actually really like getting assists more than I like getting goals," said Wilson. "Sometimes getting assists can be harder than scoring, because you have to be able to get your teammate the pass."
Wilson has produced four games with three assists this season, her first coming during a 15-1 win over Worthington on Dec. 17 at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.
The sophomore's biggest night of her Cardinal career so far came during a 12-2 win over Worthington on Jan. 1 in the Schwan Cup Tournament in Blaine.
Wilson recorded seven points in the game, including four goals, to help her on her way to a co-team-high 18 goals on the season.
"I started playing varsity hockey when I was in eighth grade," said Wilson. "But I know that this is the most points I have had in a season, well since maybe U12, but no one keeps track of them then."
Wilson's offensive contributions have given her teammates chances to reach double figures in goals and assists as well.
Taylor Nuss shares the No. 1 spot on Fairmont Area's goal-scoring chart with Wison with 18 apiece, while Brooke Lemon and Logyn Cone each have scored in the double digits with 13 and 11 goals, respectively.
In addition, Tieryn Arens (13), Nuss (15), Myah Lytle (11) and Cone (10) all help top the team in assists.
"I think our team has gotten better this year, compared to last year," said Wilson. "I know a lot of the girls did summer hockey, and I think that they've improved, which has helped us so far."
The Cardinals are 9-10-1 through the final regular-season game, and Wilson scoring four or more points in five of those games is a major reason for their success.
"Jalyssa has a natural talent for scoring. She definitely has a nose for the puck and is often in the right place at the right time," said Fairmont Area head coach Scott Kuhl.
Prior to her seven-point night against Worthington on Jan. 1, Wilson also managed a five-point game with a pair of goals and three helpers against the Trojans on Dec. 17.
Wilson then rattled off back-to-back four-point games on Jan. 3 and 9 against Windom Area and Worthington, respectively, before capping a stellar month with a four-point game on Jan. 24.
"Since Jalyssa is only a sophomore, she has continued to learn about the game," said Kuhl. "She is a very valuable part of our offense and a top five player for us."
In the Cardinals' last three games, Wilson has lit the lamp four times.
"My mom says that when she has watched me play this year that she thinks I am faster," said Wilson. "I don't really notice if I am or not, but if I am, I'm not sure why."
Whether it's her speed, her moves or a tough shot that is causing opponents' goalies trouble, it seems any puck that goes off the Cardinal forward's stick will find its way through the crease this season.