As its schedule has become more competitive the Brainerd Warriors girls' hockey team has run into a roadblock.
The Warriors dropped their fourth game in their last five outings Saturday night with a 5-0 loss to the Grand Rapids Thunderhawks at the Brainerd Area Civic Center.
Since Jan. 13, Brainerd has also lost 4-1 to St. Cloud Apollo/Cathedral, 2-1 to Moorhead and 1-0 to Fergus Falls. The Warriors' only victory in that stretch was 2-1 over Willmar.
"Fergus, Apollo, Moorhead, all three are top teams in our section, at least at the front end of our section," Brainerd coach Chuck Whalen said. "But this was good for us."
The Warriors were nearly doubled up in shots (25-13) in a ragged contest that saw seven penalties whistled against the Thunderhawks and eight against the Warriors. Despite the transgressions neither team scored a power-play goal.
"We have never beaten them," Whalen said of Grand Rapids. "We were fortunate enough to tie them (2-2 in overtime) last year here. (Thunderhawks coach Dale Christy) told me this was the third complete game they have played this season. He said that's been their problem, they're up and down.
"They have 13 juniors and seniors. They're a veteran team and they are skilled. They really took it to us. They have a junior varsity program as well as 15 and under and 12 and under teams. They are on their way. They have a great program going there."
Following a scoreless first period the Thunderhawks began rolling to just their seventh win in 19 games.
They scored two close-range goals against Brainerd goalie Mandy Hanson in the second period. Tiffany Petermeier tallied at 2:41 and Adele Hall at 11:53. Brainerd was unable to score in a 5-on-3 situation to open the period and went 0-for-3 on power plays in the session. Megan Whalen, Emily Dunphy and Alyssa Anderson had quality chances thwarted by Thunderhawks goalie Shaina Sakrison.
"Our girls battled," Chuck Whalen said. "I thought we played a great second period. We were in the game."
Petermeier, Nicki Barten and Steff Bobich scored within a 3 1/2-minute stretch in the final period to put the game away for Grand Rapids. The Thunderhawks outshot Brainerd 14-3 in the final period.
"We got our third and fourth lines some ice time at the end of the game," Chuck Whalen said. "It was disheartening they scored two goals on faceoffs when we cover up so often in practice."
Grand Rapids 0 2 3 --5
Brainerd 0 0 0 --0
First period -- No scoring
Second period -- GR-Tiffany Petermeier (Adele Hall) 2:41; GR-Hall (Heidi Watson) 11:53
Third period -- GR-Petermeier (Steff Bobich, Watson) 7:21; GR-Nicki Barten (Hall) 8:56; GR-Bobich (Becky Neitzke) 10:47
Shots on goal -- GR 4-7-14--25; B 4-6-3--13
Goalies -- GR-Shaina Sakrison (13 saves); B-Mandy Hanson (20 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- GR 0-4, B 0-11
Overall -- GR 7-12-0, B 13-7-0. Next game -- Brainerd at Alexandria 5 p.m. Tuesday.
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