Prep girls hockey: Cards overwhelm Storm
Willmar opens with a convincing 17-1 win over Morris/Benson Area
BENSON — One may not have known the Willmar Cardinals girls hockey team had opening night jitters on Thursday, especially after seeing the 17-1 victory over Morris/Benson Area.
But in the locker room, the players and coaches felt it.
“They had some pre-game jitters coming onto the ice,” Willmar coach Eric Setrum said. “We talked about having jitters being OK as long as they didn’t hamper your play.”
The jitters must not have lasted long. The Cardinals scored seven goals in the first period, another seven in the second and three in the third.
The Storm scored their lone goal in the first period.
Willmar’s usage of passing proved successful, with 14 of the 17 goals having assists.
“They played the way we wanted them to play, staying in the system and not being selfish,” Setrum said.
The Cardinals’ usage of spacing and passing was evident from the start. Willmar’s defense limited the Storm's good scoring opportunities.
Scoring came early and often.
Avery Olson scored the first goal for the Cardinals at 2:27. Storm senior Taryn Bent answered by showing strong puck work before getting the puck through the five hole to tie the game seconds after the five-minute mark.
There was another goal by Olson, nearly a minute after Bent’s goal, followed seconds later by a goal by Makenna Larson.
The Cardinals took a 7-1 lead into the first period intermission.
Setrum said the team discussed staying focused, primarily in the first intermission, and again in the second intermission with a 14-1 lead.
“We talked about them not getting away from the game plan,” he said. “Don’t do individual work, play as a group and continue to trust the system. They did a great job of that tonight.”
Setrum says the season could look brighter after Thursday’s win. But it is still too early to tell too much.
“We felt pretty good about the team this season,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of young players, but a lot of them already have varsity experience. We also have good senior leadership.
“We’re very excited about where we go from here, but this is just one game,” he added. “We’ve got a long way to go and we’re going to be playing a lot more games and against some tougher teams.”