Fans may have been expecting a blowout when the 2-13-3 Fergus Falls Otters met the Brainerd Warriors in non-conference girls' hockey Tuesday.
Instead, they witnessed a defensive struggle as the Warriors edged the Spartans 2-0 at the Brainerd Area Civic Center.
Both teams had a number of quality scoring chances that they failed to convert.
The only player on either team that converted was Brainerd senior center Rachel Obeidzinski, who snapped in a pair of unassisted goals. The Otters wound up outshooting the Warriors 21-20.
"In this kind of game it might not look like there's much offense going," Warriors coach Chuck Whalen said. "We had a lot of great chances that missed the net, flat out missed the net, especially in the second period.
"Then, of course, we had the power-play chance in the first period. We could have buried about six pucks there. It was a beautiful power play. I don't think I've seen us run it better. We just couldn't get the puck through again. We hit people, missed the net, same old story."
One of the night's stories was the stable goaltending of Brainerd's Mandy Hanson, who stopped 21 shots to record her second shutout of the season.
Hanson persevered while the Otters applied pressure in the final period. In the last five minutes, the Otters hit the pipe, Hanson stifled a 2-on-1, the Otters flipped a backhand over an open corner of the net and the Warriors' Samantha Gunning cleared a loose puck off the goal line.
"There were some pretty tense moments there, when the puck was sitting on the goal line in the third period," Whalen said, "but the goaltending gods were with her. It was nice to see her get a shutout in this competitive of a game."
Obeidzinski opened the scoring at the 6:57 mark of the first period.
"Abby Rehberger tied a girl up behind their net," Obeidzinski said, "and the puck popped out. I picked it up, brought it around the net on my backhand and threw a weak shot. It bounced out, I picked up the rebound and fired it again. It went through the goalie's 5-hole. Abby was screening the goalie while Katie Diiro was holding another girl off."
The score stood 1-0 until 2:25 remaining in the third when Obeidzinski tallied on another backhander.
"It was a 2-on-2," Obeidzinski said. "I got the puck wide coming into the zone. Abby Rehberger picked up a girl to my left and tied her up. I beat the girl wide. I took it across the crease. I faked a shot to my backhand but I kept pulling it. When the goalie wasn't there, I shot it in."
Fergus Falls 0 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 1 0 1 -- 2
First period -- B-Rachel Obeidzinski, 6:57
Second period -- No scoring
Third period -- B-Obeidzinski, 12:35
Shots on goal -- FF 5-7-9--21; B 9-3-8--20
Goalies -- FF-Katie Kantrud (18 saves); B-Mandy Hanson (21 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- B 0-1, FF 0-0
Overall -- B 10-6-1. Next game -- Brainerd at St. Cloud Tech 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
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