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Windom Area hockey team throttles Fairmont Area, 16-2

CRASH — Fairmont Area’s Hudson Artz (10) and Windom Area’s Cragen Porath collide while pursuing the puck during Big South Conference hockey action Friday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Alec Reutzel (background) watches the play. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — One hat trick, two playmakers and 11 points coming from players named Espenson.

That combination added up to the Windom Area Eagles’ 16-2 Big South Conference hockey rout over the Fairmont Area Cardinals on Friday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.

Power-play defense put the Cardinals in a tough spot quickly. After going ahead 1-0 when Alec Reutzel dished a pass from the boards behind the net to a waiting Eli Anderson, who wristed the puck into the upper-right side of the webbing past the Windom Area netminder’s glove in the first minute of the game, Fairmont Area faced a 5-minute major penalty that allowed the Eagles a big advantage.

The power-play opportunity for the Eagles started at the 15:26 mark of the first period.

Wyatt Haugen scored an unassisted goal for the Eagles on a breakaway chance when he collected a loose puck behind any of Fairmont Area’s defenders near center ice, then skated into a one-on-one with Fairmont Area goalkeeper Bryant Armitage. Haugen wristed the puck into the bottom-right corner of the webbing for an equalizer with 15:11 left.

Because of a Windom Area penalty, the Eagles’ next goal came in a four-on-four chance. Alex Espenson collected the puck behind the net, then dished it to Brady Espenson on the left side of the net before Brady Espenson one-timed it into the right side of the net with 14:23 left in the opening period.

Zach Espenson exited the penalty box for the Eagles and immediately collected a pass from Alex Espenson at center ice, then skated to a one-on-one breakaway and scored with 13:13 left for a second power-play goal on the five-minute Cardinal major.

The Cardinals kept the Eagles off the board until Brady Espenson attempted to pass through the middle of the hometown defense, which was stopped by two diving Fairmont Area defenders, before collecting the loose puck and wristing it into the right side of the net for another power-play goal.

Sonny Heil scored the Eagles’ fifth goal of the period, and fourth power-play goal, with two seconds remaining off an assist from Brady Espenson.

“First off, we can’t keep taking so many penalties,” Fairmont Area head coach Dylan VanBrocklin said of his team’s situational defense. “Staying in position is the big thing. We eliminate half of those goals just by being in the right spot. We’re getting caught watching the puck instead of watching the guy behind us who the pass is going to.”

The Eagles scored three more power-play goals to open the second period.

Zach Espenson connected on a one-timing slap shot from near the blue line off a pass from Haugen with 12:37 left, then Alex Espenson took a pass from Heil in a three-on-two attack for a goal with 9:30 left. Heil scored the third power-play goal of the period off an assist from Owen Dahna with 9:07 remaining.

Windom Area added four more goals in the period for good measure. Chase Hamlett scored unassisted, Dahna used a double-helper from Jacob VanNorman and Vance Koch, Kaleb LaCanne used a double-assist from Haugen and Keegan Classen for a goal and Alex Espenson scored his second goal with help from Koch and Heil in a five-on-three power play.

Anderson scored his second goal of the matchup for the Cardinals to open the third period. He fought his way through three Windom Area defenders to the left side of the net, then fired a shot past the Windom Area netminder’s glove to connect with the upper-right side of the webbing.

Windom Area then scored four times, once in a five-on-three power-play opportunity, to close out the game.

“We skated hard at times, but never when it mattered,” VanBrocklin said. “It wasn’t for a reason, it was just ‘we’re supposed to skate hard so we’ll skate hard for half of this shift.’ … When we need to win those battles, that’s when we decided not to skate hard.”

Armitage made 16 saves in net for the Cardinals in the first two periods, then Rachel O’Connor made 12 in the second and third periods after a switch.

Dan Stubbe made 11 saves to net the win for the Eagles, then Cody Hockel closed the game out for Windom Area with seven saves.

Windom Area outshot Fairmont Area 44-20 in the matchup.

The teams match up again when the Cardinals (0-10) go to Windom Area (7-4) for a 7 p.m. game Monday night.

Windom 5-7-4–16

Fairmont 1-0-1– 2

Scoring Plays

1st Period

FA–Eli Anderson (Alec Reutzel), 16:06.

WIN–Wyatt Haugen (unassisted), 15:11 PP.

WIN–Brady Espenson (Alex Espenson), 14:23 4-on-4.

WIN–Zach Espenson (Alex Espenson), 13:13 PP.

WIN–Brady Espenson (unassisted), 4:19 PP.

WIN–Sonny Heil (Brady Espenson), 0:02 PP.

2nd Period

WIN–Zach Espenson (Sonny Heil), 12:37 PP.

WIN–Alex Espenson (Sonny Heil), 9:30 PP.

WIN–Sonny Heil (Owen Dahna), 9:07 PP.

WIN–Chase Hamlett (unassisted), 8:16.

WIN–Owen Dahna (Jacob VanNorman, Vance Koch), 7:10.

WIN–Kaleb LaCanne (Wyatt Haugen, Keegan Classen), 4:53.

WIN–Alex Espenson (Vance Koch, Sonny Heil), 1:20 PP 3-on-5.

3rd Period

FA–Eli Anderson (unassisted), 13:04.

WIN–Jacob VanNorman (Alex Espenson, Ethan Purrington), 11:48.

WIN–Ben Purrington (Sonny Heil), 10:47 PP 3-on-5.

WIN–Brady Espenson (Kaleb LaCanne), 9:58.

WIN–Ben Purrington (Cragen Porath), 3:03.

Girls Hockey

Windom Area 8, Fairmont Area 2 — The Eagles jumped ahead early to take a Big South Conference girls hockey win Friday night in Windom.

Elly Bang got the Eagles on the board with 11:43 left in the first period off a double assist from Presley Dockter and Madelyn Schumacher, then Dockter scored unassisted with 3:51 remaining to take a 2-0 lead into the initial break.

Matay Hall opened the second period for Windom Area with a goal off a double-helper from Toria Robillard and Schumacher.

Fairmont Area got on the board in the second period when Isabella Larson used a Brooklyn Meyer assist with 12:41 left, but Windom Area added another three before the end of the middle segment.

Elly Bang used a Presley Dockter assist to score, Lyvia McManigle scored off a Robillard assist, Dockter scored her second goal, this time with help from Meakin Bang, to close out the second period with a 6-1 advantage.

Marissa Becker got the Eagles going again in the third period with a goal off a Meakin Bang assist with 12:34 left.

Mackenzie Householder scored unassisted to get the Cardinals their second goal with 12:26 left, before Ella Dockter used a Presley Dockter assist with 11:01 left to create the final score.

Windom Area outshot Fairmont Area 29-23 in the contest.

Fairmont Area netminder Hadley Artz made 21 saves in net for the Cardinals, while Kaylie Baerg made 21 to net the win for the Eagles.

Scoring Plays

1st Period

WIN–Elly Bang (Presley Dockter, Madelyn Schumacher), 11:43.

WIN–Presley Dockter (unassisted), 3:51.

2nd Period

WIN–Mataya Hall (Toria Robillard, Madelyn Schumacher), 13:00.

FA–Isabella Larson (Brooklyn Meyer), 12:41.

WIN–Elly Bang (Presley Dockter), 11:15.

WIN–Lyvia McManigle ((Vic)Toria Robillard), 4:02.

WIN–Presley Dockter (Meakin Bang), 2:11.

3rd Period

WIN–Marissa Becker (Meakin Bang), 12:34.

FA–Mackenzie Householder (unassisted), 12:26.

WIN–Ella Dockter (Presley Dockter), 11:01.

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