Girls hockey: Cardinals hand state-ranked Mankato East/Loyola first loss
MANKATO — Willmar squandered a two-goal lead and had 16 less shots than unbeaten Mankato East/Loyola, but the Cardinals’ persistence paid off Saturday as they toppled the No. 7-ranked team in Class A 5-2.
Shelby Schneider came up huge for the visiting Cardinals as the sophomore forward netted a hat trick by scoring Willmar’s first three goals, two in a span of 10 minutes in the first period and another on an early power play in the third.
Willmar senior goalie Madison Sandberg faced 38 shots — 19 alone in the second period — and finished with 36 saves against a team that entered the contest producing 58 goals in 10 games.
After the Cougars (10-1) scored early in the second and 1:29 into the third to tie the game at 2-2, Schneider put Willmar on top again when she powered a shot past Cougar netminder Katie Paulson with only 39 seconds left on a power play.
Schneider then assisted on another power-play goal when he feed senior defenseman Lauren Sing just under three minutes later at the 5:57 mark of the third period.
The Cougars were 0-for-4 on the power play, while Willmar was 2-for-5, 2-for-3 in the third period.
The Cardinals got another insurance goal with just 1:17 left in the game when sophomore forward Ellissa Weiler added an empty-netter.
Also pocketing assists for Willmar was Brooke Mayer, Amelia Amon and Miranda Roelofs.
The fourth straight win gives Willmar a 9-5 record heading into Thursday’s 8 p.m. home game against Central Lakes Conference rival River Lakes at Cardinals Arena in the Civic Center. The game will not count in the CLC standings.
The Cardinals have outscored their opponents 21-5 in their four-game winning streak.
Willmar 5, Mankato East/Loyola 2
Willmar (9-5) 2 0 3 — 5
Mankato E/L (10-1) 0 1 1 — 2
FIRST PERIOD – Wil: Shelby Schneider (unassisted) 5:40 … Wil: Schneider (Brooke Mayer, Amelia Amon) 15:52
SECOND PERIOD – MEL: Maddie McCargar (Savannah Quandt, Kalli Steinberg) 5:52
THIRD PERIOD – MEL: Amanda Broman (Kylie Paulson, Mariah Kragh) 1:29 … Wil: Schneider (unassisted) 3:02, pp … Wil: Lauren Sing (Schneider) 5:57, pp … Wil: Ellissa Weiler (Miranda Roelofs) 15:47, en
GOALIE SAVES – Willmar: Madison Sandberg 9-18-9-36 … Mankato East/Loyola: Katie Paulson 5-5-7-17