Like a puck on the ice, the Brainerd Warriors girls' hockey team is rolling along with little holding it back.
After a season-opening loss to Willmar the Warriors have now won three in a row after knocking off the Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines 5-1 Thursday at the Brainerd Area Civic Center.
Thursday, Brainerd won with a combination of balanced scoring and tough defense.
"It's really nice to have a team that can put the puck in the net," said Warrior wing Megan Whalen. "In practice we've been working on getting the puck to the net. That helped us a lot in the third period."
It took awhile for Brainerd to find the net. Warrior forward Samantha Welle opened up the scoring with a nifty breakaway at the 6:48 mark of the second period. She stole the puck at mid ice, raced past one defender and held off another before flying the puck past W-DC goalie Jenna Johnson. It was the fourth goal of the season for Welle.
"We had five different people score," said Warrior head coach Chuck Whalen. "Samantha Welle, who got the first goal, is the only girl that we picked up from the Pequot program (which dispanded this year) and she's been kind of a spark plug for us.
"We had a little of the same problem at River Lakes and she ended up getting a hat trick. She's very strong.
"That second line did a good job of Welle, Obeidzinski, Hillary Smith and we threw in Katie Diiro, who came back from swimming."
The Wolverines tied the game five minutes later when Lisa Erickson took a pass from Amanda McManigle and stuck it past Warrior goalie Sarah Johnson.
That was all W-DC could muster as Brainerd rattled off four unanswered goals in the third.
Erin Holznagel scored her team leading fifth goal of the season on a power play at the 7:46 mark of the third period. She was followed by freshman Macala Campbell's goal at 8:53.
Then Megan Whalen took over with a goal and an assist to Rachel Obeidzinski.
"(Abby) Rehberger got the puck and she shot it at the hash marks and I got the rebound and just clanked it in," said Megan Whalen, who has three goals and three assists on the season.
"On the assist I was coming around the net and Rachel was screaming. She's a loud player.
"She was screaming for the puck so I finally got my head up and I saw two defenders committing to me. I saw a hole between their sticks and I passed it to her and she got her own rebound and knocked it in."
W-DC's leading scorer Angie Johnson didn't play because of a knee injury and its second leading scorer Becca Immonen suffered a neck injury in a game at Long Prairie-Grey Eagle Nov. 20. Add to that the two-minute checking and 10-minute misconduct penalty on senior defender Chrissy Kluenenberg and W-DC just didn't have the numbers to combat Brainerd's three-line attack.
The penalty on Kluenenberg couldn't have come at a more inopportune time. Kluenenberg was assessed the penalty late in the second period.
During the third period she was let out of the box too early. Chuck Whalen noticed it. He called the referee over and the situation was rectified, but the delay and the loss of the player took W-DC out of any momentum.
"With the penalty mishap in the box that decided the whole out come of the game," said W-DC coach Chad Swanson. "It turned the whole tide of the game. We had momentum going and all of a sudden we lost it.
"They let her out early and I really didn't look at the clock. I just thought the time was up. It just took our whole team down."
Chuck Whalen said his team was a little worried about playing W-DC because when they scrimmaged earlier in the year, he said W-DC took it to the Warriors.
"Two of their best players are out and they're two good players," said Whalen. "You give them back those two and then (W-DC) can run three lines and it's a whole different game."
Sarah Johnson finished with 11 saves in goal for Brainerd while Jenna Johnson finished with 40.
Wadena-DC 0 1 0 -- 1
Brainerd 0 1 4 -- 5
Second period -- 1, B-Samantha Welle (Alyssa Lewandowski) 6:48; 2, WDC-Lisa Erickson (Amanda McManigle) 11:47
Third period -- 3, B-Erin Holznagel 7:46 PP; 4, B-Macala Campbell (Katie Diiro) 8:53; 5, B-Megan Whalen (Abby Rehberger) 9:40; 6, B-Rachel Obeidzinski (Whalen) 13:18
Shots on goal -- B 10 17 23 -- 45, WDC 2 8 2 -- 12
Goalies -- B Sarah Johnson (11 saves), WDC Jenna Johnson (40 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- B 1-5, WDC 0-3
Conference -- B 2-1. Overall -- B 3-1, WDC 2-2. Next game -- Brainerd hosts St. Cloud Tech 5:15 p.m. Tuesday; Wadena-Deer Creek at Thief River Falls 7 p.m. Saturday.
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