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Bang, Eagles nip Cardinals in OT girls hockey clash

IT’S MINE — Fairmont Area defender Brooklyn Meyer (back right) battles Windom Area forward Abby Ignaszewski (14) for control of the puck during Big South Conference hockey action Tuesday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — Hockey proved to be a game of inches for both host Fairmont Area and Windom Area Tuesday night at Martin County Arena.

Abby Ignaszewski’s long-distance clearing shot barely inched over the goal line for the equalizer with 10:09 left in the third period before teammate Elly Bang netted the game-winner 49 seconds into overtime to help the visiting Eagles edge the hometown Cardinals, 3-2.

“We put ourselves in that position with a couple of plays, and they cost us,” said Fairmont Area head coach Ashley Olson. “We just didn’t come out ready to play, stood and watched instead of going after loose pucks and we didn’t capitalize on six of our seven power-play opportunities tonight.”

Ironically, Windom Area went 0-for-4 on its power-play chances during regulation, but Elly Bang would not be denied on the Eagles’ fifth opportunity in overtime.

Tied at 2-all, Elly Bang got behind Fairmont Area’s defense during the first minute of the 8-minute extra session and drew a penalty before releasing her shot. Windom Area opted for a penalty shot and Bang — the Eagles’ leading scorer on the season with 14 goals to that juncture — rushed Cardinals’ relief goalie Hadley Artz head-on, made a nifty cross-over move and flipped a backhander into the twine for the game-winner.

Artz made five stellar saves during the final 10 minutes of regulation to keep the score even at 2-all after replacing starting netminder Rachel O’Connor on the heels of Ignaszewski’s tying goal.

Ahead 2-1 on the strength of Mackenzie Householder’s 50th career goal in the first frame and Brooklyn Meyer’s go-ahead goal off Joni Becker’s assist in the second period, Ignaszewski fired the puck just beyond neutral ice to set up the Eagles’ ensuing line-change. O’Connor smothered the puck just inches in front of the goal line only to lose her footing and slid backward slightly as the puck narrowly broke the plane.

O’Connor finished with 23 saves, including a rapid-fire, three-shot sequence off the sticks of Elly Bang, Toria Robillard and Ignaszewski, with 2:40 left in the second period to maintain the Cardinals’ 2-1 lead.

Windom Area netminder Kaylie Baerg, however, turned away a game-best 26 shots to net the winning decision. Baerg stonewalled a Householder blast from the point during the final 2 minutes of the third period before blocking another Householder rising liner a minute later.

Householder staked the Cardinals to a 1-0 lead by converting the home team’s second power-play chance with 9:58 left in the opening frame. Householder cut off Ignaszewski’s angle to the net on a breakaway before skating end-to-end and unleashing a scoring blast from the point.

Elly Bang answered by taking a Meakin Bang pass, rushed the left wing and blistered a wrister into the top right shelf for the tying goal at the 4:20 mark of the first.

Meyer then staked Fairmont Area to a 2-1 lead only 11 seconds after its fourth power-play chance expired with 5:52 left in the middle period. Joni Becker took control of the puck out of scrum near the crease before finding Meyer for the goal.

“Tomorrow is a new day, and we’ve got plenty to work on in practice,” said Olson.

Fairmont Area (6-13-1) travels to Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis on Friday night for a 7 p.m. nonconference game.

Ironically, Windom Area (6-14) hits the road to Minnehaha Academy on Saturday for a 2 p.m. clash non-league contest in Minneapolis.

Windom Area 1-0-1-1–3

Fairmont Area 1-1-0-0–2

Scoring Plays

1st Period

FA–Mackenzie Householder (unassisted), PP., 9:58.

WIN–Elly Bang (Meakin Bang), 4:20.

2nd Period

FA–Brooklyn Meyer (Joni Becker), 5:52.

3rd Period

WIN–Abby Ignaszewski (unassisted), 10:09.

Overtime

WIN–Elly Bang penalty shot, 7:11.

Shots on goal: Windom Area 5-16-9-1–31; Fairmont Area 11-10-7-0–28.

Saves: Kaylie Baerg (WIN) 26; Rachel O’Connor (FA) 23, Hadley Artz (FA) 5.

Penalties: Windom Area 7 for 14 minutes; Fairmont Area 5 for 8 minutes * Windom Area opted for penalty shot on 5th penalty in OT *

Power-play chances: Fairmont Area 1-for-7; Windom Area 1-for-4.

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