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High School Girls Hockey: A solid victory for the Willmar Cardinals

Read how Willmar beat Bemidji 5-2, getting another big night from Bailey Olson

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Willmar senior forward Bailey Olson (7) celebrates after scoring a first-period goal during Thursday's Central Lakes Conference game against Bemidji from the Willmar Civic Center. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Dominating action in its offensive zone, the Willmar girls hockey team had little trouble dispatching Bemidji on Thursday night.

On the strength of a 50-13 advantage in shots on goal, the Cardinals posted a 5-2 victory over the Lumberjacks from the Willmar Civic Center.

Willmar has started 3-0 for the second consecutive season.

“I thought we played pretty solid. We ran into a couple lulls, but overall we played pretty well,” Willmar head coach Eric Setrum said.

Bailey Olson led the hosts with a hat trick and an assist. After winning a face-off in the team’s offensive zone, the senior forward swooped by a Bemidji defender before beating senior goaltender Nettie Kimble glove-side for the game’s first goal 5 minutes, 27 seconds into the first period. Later in the first, she collected her second score with a wrist shot near the slot to make it 2-0.

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With the Cardinals up 3-1 midway through the second, Olson completed the hat trick after receiving a helper from senior forward Madison Garberding.

Olson has piled up seven goals and seven assists through three games this season.

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Willmar senior forward Bailey Olson (7) skates around Bemidji senior defender Lexi Leitner (8) during first-period action of Thursday's Central Lakes Conference game from the Willmar Civic Center. Patrick Bernadeau / West Central Tribune

“She’s been outstanding, really from the beginning,” Setrum said of Olson. “She’s put a lot of pressure on herself being a leader on the team; not just scoring goals and putting up points, but encouraging her teammates.”

Earlier in the period, Garberding and senior forward Jaidon Bredesen assisted on a goal from junior forward Nina Dawson.

The Lumberjacks again cut their deficit to two following a goal from sophomore forward Bella Webb 8:39 into the third. Willmar got that goal back two minutes later when Olson picked up an assist on a score from freshman forward Sophia Quinn.

The home team put up 14 shots on goal in the first, 17 in the second and 19 in the third. Bemidji did not register a shot on goal through the first 11 minutes of play.

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Cardinals sophomore goaltender Halle Mortensen had 11 saves to earn the victory. Kimble finished with 45 stops.

Playing its next five games on the road, Willmar takes the ice at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 29 at Minnetonka.

Photo Gallery: Bemidji Lumberjacks at Willmar Cardinals

Willmar 5,
Bemidji 0

Bemidji (0-3-0) 0 1 1 — 2
Willmar (3-0-0) 2 1 2 — 5
FIRST PERIOD – (1) W: Bailey Olson (Ashley Larson), 5:27 ... (2) W: Olson (Sophia Quinn), 12:07
SECOND PERIOD – (3) W: Nina Dawson (Jaidon Bredesen, Madison Garberding), 0:35 ... (4) B: Samantha Nistler (Lexi Leitner, Bella Webb), 5:18 PP
THIRD PERIOD – (5) W: Olson (Garberding), 7:24 ... (6) B: Webb (S. Nistler, Madyson Nistler), 8:39 ... (7) W: Quinn (Olson), 10:54
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Bemidji: Nettie Kimble 45/50 … Willmar: Halle Mortensen 11/13

River Lakes 2,
Brainerd/LF 1 (OT)

Aubree McDonagh scored at 6:15 of overtime to lift River Lakes past Brainerd/Little Falls at Brainerd.

The Stars, ranked No. 12 in Class A, tied the game at 5:36 of the third period on a Brooke Lemke goal. Brainerd/LF, ranked 16th in Class AA, opened the scoring in the second period on Riah Stroot’s short-handed goal.

River Lakes has a quick turnaround. The Stars play the St. Cloud Icebreakers at 7:15 p.m. Friday at Richmond.

River Lakes (3-0-0) 0 0 1 1— 2
Brainerd/LF (1-2-0) 0 1 0 0 — 1
FIRST PERIOD – No scoring
SECOND PERIOD – (2) B: Riah Stroot (Molly Hagelie) 11:50 (SH).
THIRD PERIOD – (3) RL: Brooke Lemke (Sophia Hess) 5:36

GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – River Lakes: Kaydence Roeske 28/29 … Brainerd/LF: Emily Johnson 13/15

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