Lightning blank Morris-Benson in playoffs
Kaylyn Eggena is happy to have switched roles with the Morris-Benson Storm girls’ hockey team.
Just three years ago, the Northern Lakes Lightning senior hockey player remembers her young squad losing lopsided games to a veteran Morris-Benson team.
But this season, the Lightning have outscored the Storm 23-1 in winning three times, including a 10-0 victory behind four goals and three assists from Eggena in the first round of the Section 6A playoffs on Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Breezy Point Arena.
“This game reminded me of three years ago when we were younger, and (M-B) would dominate us,” Eggena said of the 2010-11 winter season when the Storm had 11 seniors and were section runners-up. “We were a young team then, and we needed more varsity experience.”
That experience came in the past two years as the Lightning steadily improved their victory totals. And on Saturday, Northern Lakes had enough seniors to start the game will an all-senior lineup – goaltender Kat Jensen, defensemen Morgan Demars and Sam Henrichs, and forwards Eggena, Alex Palm and Kim Jessen. The only other senior, exchange student Johanna Rischka, sang the national anthem.
“This is pretty much the group that played together when we were (Class B) state consolation champions for 12-U,” Eggena said. “We all moved up together, and our goal is to make it to state this year.”
Northern Lakes is two wins away from that goal. The third-seeded Lightning, who is 13-11 overall after defeating the sixth-seeded Storm, was scheduled to play at the No. 2 Fergus Falls Otters in the section semifinals on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Northern Lakes had lost at Fergus Falls 4-2 earlier this season. Top seeded Alexandria was scheduled to face No. 4 Detroit Lakes in the other semifinal.
The Lightning assumed a 3-0 lead after the opening period on goals by Isabella Abear, Eggena and Hannah Zimmerman. Northern Lakes extended the advantage to 4-0 with 4:10 left in the middle session when Demars fired a shot from the point that sailed into the top corner of the net. Eggena scored just 30 seconds later, assisted by Mariah Reed, to make it 5-0 after two periods.
Northern Lakes expanded the lead to 6-0 in the opening minute of the third session when Alex Palm tallied. The Lightning made it 7-0 less than four minutes later on Zimmerman’s second goal. Northern Lakes continued to dominate as Lexi Danielson tallied and Eggena completed her hat trick with 5:15 remaining. She added another goal just over a minute later to complete the scoring.
“We came out flying and scored on our third shift,” said Northern Lakes coach Kristen Harsha. “We’re starting to click, and our lines are working well together.”
The Storm end the season 4-19 overall.
“We have a young team,” said Storm coach Jeremiah Day, “but I do like Northern Lakes. They’ve really improved the past two years.”
Jensen finished with eight saves while losing goaltender Shianne Wold stopped 31 shots. Demars and Reed each had three assists while Henrichs had two.
Morris-Benson 0 0 0 — 0
Northern Lakes 3 2 5 — 10
First period: NL-Isabella Abear (Kaylyn Eggena) 13:55; NL-Kaylynn Eggena (Sam Henrichs) 13:25; NL-Hannah Zimmerman (Henrichs) 8:57
Second period: NL-Morgan Demars (Erika Monson) 4:10; NL-Kaylyn Eggena (Mariah Reed) 3:40
Third period: NL-Alex Palm (Courtney Kittock, Morgan Demars) 16:02; NL-Zimmerman (Reed, Eggena) 12:11; NL-Lexi Danielson (Demars) 7:45; NL-Eggena (Zimmerman) 5:15; NL-Eggena (Reed, Demars) 4:05
Shots on goal: NL 41, MB 8
Goalies: NL-Kat Jensen (8 saves); MB-Shianne Wold (31 saves)
In the final regular season game on Tuesday, Feb. 5, Northern Lakes used a pair of third-period goals to snap a 2-2 tie for the non-conference win over the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek Blue Devils at the Hallett Community Center in Crosby.
A first-period goal by Eggena was sandwiched between a pair of goals by the Blue Devils. Isabella Abear tied it midway through the middle session, and the Lightning went ahead 3-2 when Palm tallied at 5:13 of the third period. Eggena then added an insurance goal with 1:32 remaining.
Jensen finished with 16 saves while losing goaltender Sarah Holm stopped 51 shots.
LP-GE/W-DC 2 0 0 – 2
Northern Lakes 1 1 2 – 4
First period: LP-GE/W-DC-Ashlee Helseth (Abby Ecker) 11:26; NL-Eggena (Reed, Erika Monson) (ppg) 16:11; LP-GE/W-DC-Brooke Emland (Ecker) (ppg) 16:48
Second period: NL-Esabella Abear (Eggena) 7:32
Third period: NL-Palm (Carly Fyle) 5:13; NL-Eggena (Sam Bittner, Abear) 15:28
Shots on goal: LP-GE/W-DC 18, NL 55
Goalie saves: LP-GE/W-DC-Sarah Holm 51, NL-Jensen 16