Paige Johnson scored a pair of empty-net goals late in the third period to give her freshman goalie all the breathing room she would need.
Johnson, a senior defenseman, had three goals on the night as Marshfield beat Point/Rapids 6-3 Friday night at the Marshfield Youth Ice Center.
In addition to her scoring expectations — Johnson leads the Tigers with 24 points — she had the added duty of making Lexi Dupee comfortable between the pipes in her first varsity start.
“I think the only time she played goalie before was two years ago on a U-14 team and our regular goalie was out with a concussion, so Lexi was surprised when she found out she had to go out there,” Johnson said. “She did a good job tonight and the empty-net goals at the end really helped season the game.”
The Tigers were clinging to a 4-3 lead late in the third period when Red Panthers coach Rachel Graves pulled sophomore goalie Emily Bubla for an extra attacker with less then 90 seconds to play.
Johnson made sure the gamble didn’t pay off for Point/Rapids as she lifted the puck from neutral ice into the empty net with 41 seconds left to play. She scored her second empty-net goal with 18 seconds to go to seal the win.
“The empty-net goals make the final score seem a little lopsided and this was a hard-fought game,” Marshfield coach Don Larson said. “Our freshman goalie did a nice job and Paige and our other defensemen did a nice job protecting her.
“We were missing two starters and our goalie, so we really had some young ladies step up and come through for us,” Larson added. “We have young team and these girls are working hard and played hard tonight to earn good win.”
Dupee finished her debut with 18 saves to notch her first win in goal.
After Johnson, who was also credited with two assists, scored at 1:06 of the first period, the teams traded goals in a back and forth battle.
Rachel Metz tied the game at 1-1 late in the first period and teammate Taylor Grimm gave the Red Panthers a short-lived 2-1 lead, before the Tigers took a 3-2 lead into the second intermission.
Marshfield capitalized on its power play opportunities by scoring on two of three chances as both of the Tigers’ second period goals came while skating a man up.
“They took advantage of their opportunities better than we did tonight,” Point/Rapids coach Rachael Graves said. “When you have a tough game, you have to battle and take advantage when you get chances.”
“Marshfield is a good opponent and we look forward to facing them again,” Graves added.
First period: 1. M, Paige Johnson, 1:06; 2. P/R, Rachel Metz (Sarah Peplinski, Amanda Milanowski), 14:56.
Second period: 3. P/R, Taylor Grimm (Metz), 9:42; 4. M, Nell Eichten (Johnson), 11:12 (pp); 5. M, Eitchen (Molly Schuster, Johnson), 15:21 (pp).
Third period: 6. M, Patty Jo Bloczynski (Melissa Alcorta), 4:13; 7. P/R, Milanwoski (Nicole Krueger), 7:53; 8. M, Johnson, 16:19; 9. M, Johnson, 16:38.
Saves: P/R, Emily Bubla 12-7-7 — 26; M, Lexi Dupee 6-6-6 — 18.
Records: Marshfield 5-4-1; Point/Rapids 2-2.