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Cardinals ‘pass’ Spartans’ test on the ice

CHIPPED IN — Fairmont Area’s Mackenzie Householder (9) chips the puck past Rochester Mayo goaltender Alivia Haakenson and forward Andrea Augeson (18) for a goal during nonconference hockey action Saturday at Martin County Arena in Fairmont. The Cardinals’ Bella Larson (4) and the Spartans’ Melis Cicek (14) watch the action. (Photo by Greg Abel)

FAIRMONT — After two official games and three weeks of practices sprinkled in between, Fairmont Area’s first forward line of Bella Larson, Hannah Goerndt and Brooklyn Murphy is beginning to click.

Larson produced the non-league game’s initial goal and doled out an assist, Goerndt scored once and Murphy distributed an assist to help power the Cardinals’ 3-1 hockey win over the Rochester Mayo Spartans on Saturday afternoon at Martin County Arena.

“We’re starting to connect better on the ice,” Larson said in reference to first-year linemates Hannah Goerndt and Murphy. “We’ve been working on our passing in practice, and we’re getting an improved sense for where we’re at in the offensive zone.”

Murphy, an eighth-grader in her first varsity season, spotted Larson with a backhanded crossing pass near the left doorstep and the sophomore forward drilled the puck past Mayo goalie Alivia Haakenson for a 1-0 Cardinals’ lead with 9:43 remaining in the first period.

Larson then traded roles by working the boards behind the cage before threading a crossing pass to Hannah Goerndt near the right wing. The Fairmont Area junior forward made a quick spin move and smacked her shot off Haakenson’s pads and into the twine for a 2-0 Fairmont Area margin with 6:30 left in the opening 17-minute segment.

Despite netting three short-handed goals in last Tuesday’s victory over Waseca, Fairmont Area discovered Mayo more efficient on its initial power-play chance that started at the 4:09 juncture.

With only 13 seconds remaining with a one-player advantage on the ice, Andrea Augeson took a lead pass from Elle Roth and fired a close-range blast that Fairmont Area netminder Hadley Artz blocked. Augeson, however, picked up the perfect return carom and flipped the rebound into the webbing for a power-play goal at the 2:22 mark of the first period.

Artz proved flawless for the final 36-plus minutes of regulation by delivering a shutout, making 13 of her 27 saves to earn the victory for the Cardinals.

Murphy assisted Artz’s defensive performance by blocking a Mayo breakaway chance during the first minute of the second segment before Fairmont’s sure-handed junior goalie stonewalled the Spartans for the duration.

Defender Mackenzie Householder transitioned into a forward role during the middle segment to produce the Cardinals’ insurance goal and the only point of the final 22 1/2 minutes.

Householder picked up the loose puck during Fairmont Area’s power-play opportunity, weaved through Mayo’s defenders and flipped a wrister inside the right post for a power-play goal. The net-finding blast was Householder’s team-leading fifth of the season.

Artz then turned away all seven of Mayo’s shots on net during the third period, while Haakenson countered by stopping all 11 of Fairmont Area’s shots to finish with 29 saves for the Spartans.

Fairmont Area (2-0-1) travels to Luverne on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. Big South Conference game at Blue Mound Ice Arena, while Rochester Mayo (1-2) plays host to Minnehaha Academy at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday night at Graham Arena Complex.

Mayo 1-0-0–1

Fairmont 2-1-0–3

Scoring Plays

1st Period

FA–Bella Larson (Brooklyn Murphy), 9:43.

FA–Hannah Goerndt (Bella Larson), 6:30.

RM–Andrea Augeson (Elle Roth), PP., 2:22.

2nd Period

FA–Mackenzie Householder (unassisted), PP., 5:31.

3rd Period

No scoring.

Shots on goal: Fairmont Area 11-10-11–32; Mayo 16-5-7–28. Saves: Hadley Artz (FA) 27; Alivia Haakenson (RM) 29.

Power-play chances: Fairmont Area 1-for-3; Mayo 1-for-2. Penalties: Fairmont Area 3-for-9 minutes; Mayo 4 for 11 minutes.

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