Brainerd/Little Falls goalie Natalie Berens turned in a stellar performance, blocking 28 of 29 shots, and led the Flying Warriors to a 3-1 win over the Alexandria Cardinals for their first win of the season Thursday night at Brainerd Area Civic Center.
“It was by far her best night of the year in goal,” said Flying Warriors head coach Stephanie Sustercich. “She’s been working really hard on moving across the goal and coming out, and that paid off tonight. She was able to keep a lot of situations under control.”
The Central Lakes Conference win broke a seven-game losing streak for the Flying Warriors.
Alexandria spoiled Berens’ chance for a shutout, scoring with 12 seconds left in the contest on a goal by Shelby Iverson.
CJ Kendall opened the scoring with an unassisted goal at 14:22 in the first. Kristina Anderson found the net, with an assist from Lexy White, to make it 2-0 after two.
Maren Anderson put the icing on the cake with a short-handed goal at 14:51 in the third, with Anderson getting an assist.
“CJ’s goal was a nice goal,” said Sustercich. “She was carrying the puck up through the neutral zone during a line change and was able to beat the defense with her shot.
“On Maren’s (short-handed) goal, Kristina got into the zone first and was able to feed Maren from behind the net.”
The Cards outshot BLF 29-21, with 24 of those shots coming in the final two periods.
“The kids have been working with staff so hard all week on defensive end coverage and that was good because much of the play tonight was in our end,” said Sustercich. “Their hard work paid off tonight.”
Alexandria 0 0 1 — 1
Brainerd/Little Falls 1 1 1 — 3
First period: BLF-CJ Kendall 14:22
Second period: BLF-Kristina Anderson (Lexy White) 5:50
Third period: BLF-Maren Brown (Anderson) shg 14:51; Alex-Shelby Iverson (Madi Houska, Becca Illies)
Shots on goal: BLF 7 7 7 — 21, Alex 5 10 14 — 29
Goalies: BLF-Natalie Berens (28 saves); Alex-Bailey Serum (18 saves)
Conference: BLF 1-3. Overall: BLF 1-7. Next: Brainerd/Little Falls hosts North St. Paul 1 p.m. Saturday.