The Brainerd Warriors welcomed the Sartell Stormin' Sabres girls' hockey team to the Brainerd Area Civic Center for the first time Thursday.
Sartell returned the favor with open nets as Brainerd rudely introduced the Sabres to Central Lakes Conference hockey with a 7-0 pounding in the inaugural meeting between the teams.
With a 1-4 record Sartell has struggled in its first season and it didn't take long for the game-tested Warriors to exploit the inexperienced Sabres.
Sartell's visit was quickly ruined at 1:22 in the first period when freshman Erin Holznagel slapped in her eighth goal of the season.
The scoring bombardment continued when Macala Campbell and Natalie Dunphy broke away for a 2-on-1. Campbell passed right and found Dunphy for Brainerd's second goal.
Among a mess of bodies and sticks Rachel Obeidzinski took an assist from senior Amy Oakes to score the Warriors' third goal at the 5:12 mark. Minutes later Oakes and Obeidzinski hooked up again, this time on a breakaway with the same result.
Brainerd ended the first period with a goal by Emily Dunphy who was assisted by her sister, Natalie, and Megan Whalen.
In the second period it was the defense's turn to score and Megan Lorenz started at 6:54. Oakes, who finished with three assists, passed to a wide-open Lorenz, who snapped a shot past Sartell goalie Maddie Haroldson for Brainerd's sixth goal.
Alyssa Anderson, the other starting defender, also connected from just in front of the blue line. Campbell recorded her second assist on Anderson's goal.
With an 8-0 win against Alexandria on Tuesday, Brainerd has scored 15 goals in its last two games.
"We've made a lot of improvements this year and there are some fairly new teams this year so we've gotten pretty much what we expected against these teams," Oakes said about the amount of goals Brainerd has had. "It's nice to do well."
On Nov. 30. Sartell celebrated its first win, 4-3 against the Little Falls Flyers, another first-year varsity squad. But Thursday the Sabres could only manage nine shots on goal.
The Warriors' defense stifled Sartell's' offensive attack. When the Sabres did fire at Warriors' goalie Sarah Johnson, she mimicked a brick wall.
"It was kind of boring at first but then at the end you're happy because your teammates are working so hard to keep it that way," said Johnson. "You have to concentrate the whole time. There were a couple of breakaways so you have to be ready and make sure you're going to stop those to defend your net."
Johnson finished with her first shutout of the season, collecting nine saves.
"We had an opportunity to move the puck a little bit more than we have," said Brainerd coach Chuck Whalen. "A lot of kids saw a lot of plays that they haven't been seeing in other games because the pace was so much slower. We had a lot of room to make some plays so we really worked on our puck movement tonight.
"We were able to play our entire bench. Nineteen people played. The only one who didn't was Mandy Hanson, our backup goalie, and she's going up against Bemidji (Friday) so I told her to be well-rested."
Sartell 0 0 0 -- 0
Brainerd 5 2 0 -- 7
First period -- 1, B-Erin Holznagel 1:22; 2, B-Natalie Dunphy (Macala Campbell) 4:02; 3, B-Rachel Obeidzinski (Amy Oakes) 5:12; 4, B-Obeidzinski (Oakes) 7:53; 5-Emily Dunphy (N. Dunphy, Megan Whalen) 10:11.
Second period -- 6, B-Megan Lorenz (Oakes) 6:54; 7, B-Alyssa Anderson (Campbell) 14:10.
Shots on goal -- B 11-6-0--17; S 2-4-3--9
Goalies -- B Sarah Johnson (9 saves); S Maddie Haroldson (10 saves)
Power-play opportunities -- B 0-3, S 0-1
Conference -- B 3-1-1, S 1-4. Overall -- B 3-1-1, S 1-5. Next game -- Brainerd vs. Bemidji 5 p.m. today.
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