The original plan of attack wasn’t getting the job done for the Point/Rapids girls hockey team Monday night.
Marshfield goalie Alexis Straughan spent the first period foiling the Red Panthers’ concept of trying to score from long distance without anyone in her line of sight.
So the Red Panthers went to Plan B.
Point/Rapids opted to make Straughan’s life miserable by placing bodies right in front of the crease and making it tough to see the puck.
The results were more to the Red Panthers’ liking, as freshman Kaylee Bruneau netted a pair of goals in a three-goal second period outburst that helped them snag a 4-1 victory over Marshfield at Ice Hawks Arena.
“We needed to screen the goalie and get some good shots off, and hopefully bury some rebounds,” said senior Point/Rapids center Rachel Metz, who put home a rebound to open the scoring 3 minutes, 32 seconds into the second period.
“We have a habit of starting slow, so we talked about how we had to pick up the intensity and pick up the little things in our game.”
By doing some of the little things the Red Panthers grabbed a big win in the Great Northern Conference.
If it wanted to hold out any hope of repeating as conference champions, Point/Rapids needed to avoid a misstep against the Tigers, having already slipped up against the Northern Edge (Antio/Rhinelander).
Still one game behind GNC-leading Northland Pines in the standings, the Red Panthers will have a chance to gain a share of first place when the teams meet Jan. 31 if they keep winning.
“Now it’s time to bear down and get some conference wins to set us up for the end of the season,” Red Panthers coach Rachael Graves said.
Straughan is one of 12 reasons — the total number of players on the Marshfield roster — why the Tigers could have something to say about how the conference shakes out.
A task growing more and more difficult, as the limited number of players already available try to cope with a number of injuries, including torn rib cartilage for junior standout Morgan Larson.
“We have some really good players and they’re used to playing a lot, and I thought our goalie and a couple other players really stepped up and played hard,” Tigers coach Don Larson said.
“They were busting their tails, but it wasn’t quite enough to get over the hump,” he added. “That first goal was a dagger.”
Back-to-back goals from Bruneau over a span of less than 6 minutes to put the Red Panthers up 3-0 didn’t help either.
Despite all the obstacles, Marshfield was still very much in the game when Nell Eichten found the back of the net at 4:31 of the final period to make it 3-1.
A goal by Point/Rapids’ Hailey Ehr with 6:03 left, however, erased any hopes of a Tigers’ comeback.
“Once you get in a hole, it’s hard to get out,” coach Larson said.
Meanwhile, Graves couldn’t ask for a much better start to her team’s week.
“We like winning on Mondays because it makes it fun the rest of the week,” she said.
Second period: 1. P/R, Rachel Metz (Hannah Beilke, Katrina Hassig), 3:32; 2. P/R, Kaylee Bruneau (Rachel Nolan), 7:57; 3. P/R, Bruneau (Bryar Brooks), 13:33.
Third period: 4. M, Nell Eichten (Morgan Larson, Patty Jo Bloczynski), 4:31; 5. P/R, Hailey Ehr (Hassig), 10:57.
Saves: Marshfield (Alexis Straughan) 29, Point/Rapids (Emily Bubla) 17.
Records: Point/Rapids 7-5-2, 6-1-0 GNC; Marshfield 4-8-0; 4-4-0 GNC.