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Householder’s hat trick powers Cardinals to win over Trojans

GETTING DEFENSIVE — Fairmont Area’s Macy Militello (5) rejects a shot by Worthington’s Kessey Aljets (far left) during season-opening Big South Conference hockey action Tuesday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. Cardinals’ goaltender Hadley Artz, Bella Larson (second from right) and Alexis Newville (far right) watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — “We’ve been working in practice on getting the puck to ‘the house,'” Fairmont Area head girls hockey coach Ashley Olson said in reference to the area from the goal posts to the face-off dots to the tops of the circles. “Coming into tonight’s game, we wanted to drive the puck to the house.”

Ironically, Olson’s unintentional double entendre proved as accurate as a shot on goal by Cardinal defender Mackenzie Householder, simply known by friends as “House,” during Tuesday night’s Big South Conference clash with the Worthington Trojans.

Householder opened the season by producing a hat trick, Emily Sokoloski netted one goal and goaltender Hadley Artz recorded 28 saves to power Fairmont Area to a 4-2 triumph over Worthington at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.

“I thought the difference tonight was the fact that we came out strong and attacked right away in the first period,” Olson said in reference to her Cardinals’ 18-9 shots-on-goal edge during the initial 17 minutes on the ice.

Sokoloski smacked home Fairmont Area’s eighth shot on net of the contest to light the lamp for a quick 1-0 lead with 10:26 remaining in the opening frame. Alexis Newville delivered the pass to earn the assist on the play.

Householder then found the webbing to double the Cardinals’ lead with 3:24 remaining in the first period. Jonissa Neitzel tapped the puck away from a Trojan defender and Householder collected it. The junior defender then rushed Worthington netminder Alexis Lyons from the point, slashed right and ripped a right-to-left shot for a 2-0 lead.

“It’s been a while since we’ve put up 40 shots on goal against an opponent,” Olson said in reference to her lineup’s 40-30 edge in that statistical category on the night. “I thought we took advantage of every opportunity and every possession, and played with intention tonight. We did that consistently for all three periods.”

Worthington evened the score at 2-all on the strength of Brynne White’s perfectly-timed conversion of Riley Nickel’s right-wing pass from the point with 1:51 left in the opening period, and Kessey Aljets’ short-handed end-to-end pick-pocketed goal at the 10:55 juncture of the second frame.

Householder and Fairmont Area, however, regrouped to retake the lead for good with 4:34 remaining in the middle segment. After Bella Larson and Brooklyn Meyer blasted a pair of shots that Lyons turned away, Householder tracked down the loose puck along the left wing. The Cardinals’ scoring ace drove the left-hand seam and drilled a wrister by Lyons for the go-ahead unassisted goal.

Householder then delivered a pivotal momentum-turning play as the Cardinals were in transit during a line shift. The Trojans managed to clear their defensive zone, but Householder gained control in neutral ice and outraced Worthington’s defense to the net. Householder netted a nifty backhanded flip into the twine for a 4-2 lead with only 44 seconds to go in the second period.

Artz displayed her prowess between the pipes by stonewalling Worthington’s Ashton Fogelman on a blast from the point with 13:56 remaining in the third period before turning away Lauren Nelson on a wrap-around stuff attempt.

Sokoloski and Meyer then paced the Cardinals’ barrage on the net to pace the home team’s 13-10 shots-on-goal edge during the third period.

Lyons recorded a game-best 36 saves for the Trojans.

Fairmont Area (1-0) travels to Waseca on Thursday night.

Worthington 1-1-0–2

Fairmont 2-2-0–4

Scoring Plays

1st Period

FA–Emily Sokoloski (Alexis Newville), 10:26.

FA–Mackenzie Householder (Jonissa Neitzel), 3:24.

WOR–Brynne White (Riley Nickel), 1:51.

2nd Period

WOR–Kessey Aljets (unassisted), SH., 10:55.

FA–Mackenzie Householder (unassisted), 4:34.

FA–Mackenzie Householder (unassisted), 0:44.

3rd Period

No scoring.

Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 18-9-13–40; Worthington 9-11-10–30. Saves: Hadley Artz (FA) 28; Alexis Lyons (WOR) 36.

Penalties: Fairmont Area 1 for 2 minutes; Worthington 3 for 9 minutes.

Power-play chances: Fairmont Area 0-for-3; Worthington 0-for-1.

Boys Hockey

Worthington 7, Fairmont Area 4 — Blake Ahrenstorff netted two goals and an assist, while Blake Luinenburg and Konner Honius each supplied two goals to help the Trojans fend off the Cardinals’ late comeback during Big South Conference action Tuesday night in Worthington.

Ahrenstorff and Luinenburg joined forces with Honius to help Worthington build a 3-0 lead after one period in the books.

Fairmont Area, however, played Worthington even for the final two frames. After Ahrenstorff scored to open the second period, Hudson Artz scored the first of his two goals on the game off an Eli Anderson pass to reduce the Cardinals’ deficit to 4-1 in the middle frame.

Luinenburg and Dawson Duangapai chipped in back-to-back goals to bridge the second and third periods to stake the Trojans to a 6-1 margin.

Fairmont Area, however, came charging back as Brock Lutterman cashed in an assist from Hudson Artz for a goal before Hudson Artz and Anderson worked their two-man game to perfection for another goal to trim the gap to 6-3.

Honius converted an Ahrenstorff assist into a goal to give the Trojans breathing room at 7-3 before Nate Rakness capped the Cardinals’ offensive output with a goal off a double-assist from Lincoln Becker and Carson Johnson.

Fairmont Area goaltender Rachel O’Connor tallied 29 saves during her seasonal debut.

Fairmont Area (0-1) plays host to Waseca at 7 p.m. Thursday at Martin County Arena.

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