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Girls hockey: Cards make quick work of Storm

Lauren Eilers gets a hat trick in Willmar’s 13-0 win over Morris/Benson Area. Erin Eilers earns first career shutout between the pipes.

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Morris/Benson Area senior Kortney Sanasack protects the puck with Willmar senior defender Makenna Larson trying to take it away during a game between the Cardinals and Storm on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at Willmar Civic Center.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — After a loss in its season-opener, the Cardinals’ girls hockey team responded with a 13-0 victory over the Morris/Benson Area Storm on Thursday.

Willmar head coach Eric Setrum had his Cardinals focus in on a few things to improve upon from their 4-1 loss to Hutchinson.

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“We moved the puck better, controlled the puck better and didn’t give up odd-man rushes,” Setrum said. “That was the biggest thing – just moving the puck with consistency and authority.”

An eight-goal first period fueled the Cardinals. Sophomore forward Lauren Eilers pushed the pace early, scoring her first two goals of the season 5 minutes, 46 seconds into the first period.

Eilers continued to shine, notching two assists and tallying a hat trick with a third goal in the second period. Her linemates – sophomores Avery Olson and Gretchen Volk – recorded three goals and five assists. Olson had one goal and two assists and Volk had two goals and three assists.

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The Cardinals dominate the Storm en route to a 13-0 victory to earn their first win of 2022-23 season.

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Willmar forward Lauren Eilers celebrates her first goal of her sophomore season during a game against the Morris/Benson Area Storm on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at Willmar Civic Center.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

“That line had a really good night, they got after it really good,” Setrum said. “It’s good when we get a start, get going, and when you get on a roll like that it’s fun.”

Lauren's sister, sophomore Erin Eilers, got her first varsity start between the pipes. She went 12-for-12 stopping shots to earn the shutout.

Knotted at 0-0, Morris/Benson Area junior Karlie Bruns found herself on a breakaway and Erin shut it down to keep the game scoreless.

“There were a lot of nerves,” said Erin, leading up to her first start. “I kind of calmed down. After the first few shots, I was good to go.”

Willmar out-shot the Storm 50-12. The Cardinals saw goals from nine skaters. Eight of the nine goal-scorers scored their first goals of the season.

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Morris/Benson Area junior Karlie Bruns enters the offensive zone during a game between the Willmar Cardinals and the Storm on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at Willmar Civic Center.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Along with Lauren and Volk, junior forward Becca Dawson notched a multi-goal performance with two goals.

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Dawson, a captain, liked how the Cardinals played team hockey after gaining a comfortable lead.

“We definitely learned how to see where each person is on the ice,” Dawson said. “We started making better passes. It just came together way better.

“It was a good game, but we got to be ready for next week and the next couple of games.”

Willmar takes on Prairie Centre at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Sauk Centre Civic Arena. Morris/Benson Area is host to Princeton at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Benson Civic Center.

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Willmar junior forward Becca Dawson protects the puck from Morris/Benson Area junior Isabella Alsaker during a game between the Cardinals and Storm on Thursday, Nov. 17, 2022, at Willmar Civic Center.
Michael Lyne / West Central Tribune

Willmar 13, Morris/Benson Area 0

Morris/Benson Area (1-2-0)          0     0     0 — 0
Willmar (1-1-0)                               8     4     1 — 13

FIRST PERIOD –  (1) W: Lauren Eilers (Avery Quinn, Ella Kubesh), 2:37 … (2) W: L. Eilers (Gretchen Volk), 5:46 … (3) W: A. Olson (L. Eilers, Volk), 10:57 … (4) W: Maecee Hansen (Samantha Poe, Kubesh), 11:59 … (5) W: Becca Dawson (unassisted), 12:39 … (6) W: Makenna Larson (L. Eilers, Volk), 13:20 … (7) W: Volk (Olson, A. Quinn), 13:42 … (8) W: Volk (Larson), 13:56.
SECOND PERIOD –  (9) W: Chloe Lownsbury (A. Quinn), 3:23 … (10) W: Dawson (Sophia Quinn, Lownsbury), 14:29 … (11) W: L. Eilers (Olson, A. Quinn), 15:26 … (12) W: Birgit Figenskau (A. Quinn, Hansen), 15:56.
THIRD PERIOD – (13) W: S. Quinn (unassisted), 5:11.
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Morris/Benson Area: Ava Breuer 37/50 … Willmar: Erin Eilers 12/12.

Michael Lyne joined the West Central Tribune as a sports reporter in May 2022, following his graduation from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, where he graduated with a bachelors degree in journalism and a minor degree in Spanish studies.

You may reach Michael at mlyne@wctrib.com, or by calling (320) 214-4345.
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