The Brainerd/Little Falls Flying Warriors can take solace in the fact they pushed the Central Lakes Conference leaders to the brink.
Trailing 1-0, the Flying Warriors scored two straight goals before surrendering the game's last two and falling 3-2 to the St. Cloud Icebreakers Thursday night at Brainerd Area Civic Center.
Flying Warriors coach Rod Peltoma thought it was one of the team's best efforts this season.
St. Cloud 3,
Flying Warriors 2
The key: The Icebreakers scored twice in the last 3:14 of the second period.
Conf: BLF 0-3-1, StC 4-0-0
Overall: BLF 2-7-1, StC 6-2-0
Next: Brainerd/Little Falls vs. Willmar at Little Falls 7 p.m. Thursday
"I would say it's right up there," he said. "I would say that first period was one of the best periods of hockey we've played, and probably the first 10 minutes of the second.
"The girls came out hard in the third period and worked extremely hard. We had a few shots on net in the third as well."
In the first, the Flying Warriors maintained a 10-6 lead in shots on net and received a goal from Sarah Sorenson at 12:02.
Zoe Wolhart scored 5:31 into the second to give Brainerd a 2-1 edge.
Later in the second, the Icebreakers- made up of players from Cathedral, Apollo and Tech- tied it 2-2 in a 4-on-4 situation on a goal by Blair Curtis. About a minute later, St. Cloud went ahead 3-2 on a power-play goal by Megan Schwegman and that's the way it ended.
Late in the third, Brainerd had several chances. Sorenson hit the crossbar with six minues left and Lizzy Desrocher was stopped right in front. Brainerd pulled Kierra Howard with 1:16 remaining, but was unable to score in that time.
"That second period we had a lapse of about six minutes where I think we kind of lost a little focus," Peltoma said. "We made some mental errors, a couple pucks bounced in the wrong direction and they capitalized. Give credit to them, they're a very good team."
St. Cloud outshot the Flying Warriors 27-22 following a 12-8 edge in the second and a 9-4 advantage in the third.
"I was very pleased with our effort tonight," Peltoma said. "We played extremely well in the first period. The girls really worked hard. We did the little things right, we made good passes, we played very aggressive.
"I thought we played very good defensive zone coverage, we didn't give them much as far as shots. We pushed the puck up the ice. I thought we did a nice job on the offensive end, getting some shots."
The loss was the fifth in the last six games for Brainerd/Little Falls, which is 0-3-1 in CLC play.
"I feel like this game is a step in the right direction," Peltoma said. "St. Cloud is probably one of the better teams in our conference and probably one of the better teams in our section. If we can put up an effort like this against St. Cloud there's no reason that, night in and night out, we can't compete with any team.
"I see improvement in our girls every game. I look for our girls to be responding to this. We'll be a little bit better the next time out."
St. Cloud Icebreakers 1 2 0 - 3
Brainerd/Little Falls 1 1 0 - 2
First period: StC-Blair Curtis (Mickey Moran) 1:15; BLF-Sarah Sorenson (Lizzy Desrocher, Zoe Wolhart)
Second period: 12:02; BLF-Wolhart, 5:31; StC-Curtis (4 on 4) 13:46; StC-Megan Schwegman (Moran, Lizzy Sloan) ppg 14:30
Shots on goal: StC 6-12-9-27, Brd 10-8-4-22
Goalies: StC-Jenna Traut (20 saves), Brd-Kierra Howard (24 saves)
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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