Thursday evening the Minnesota Whitecaps hosted the Shattuck-St. Mary’s Girls Prep team at Ridder Arena. So far this season Shattuck-St. Mary is 40-1-3 and were on an eight game winning streak after cleaning up at the Junior Women’s Hockey League event held at Ridder and Mariucci Arena last week. This match was a little different from the Whitecaps’ previous exhibition games, as the scrimmage was composed of three 17-minute periods instead of the usual 20 and first intermission lasted only two minutes. The stands were almost empty for the free exhibition, and staffing for the game was minimal, but the teams were ready to play.
Suzette Faucher started in goal for SSM, while Sydney Rossman stayed between the pipes for Minnesota for the entire scrimmage. Just 46 seconds into the game Jonna Curtis flew down center ice to score on Faucher glove side. Soon afterward Rossman lunged forward for a stick side save. Then Emma Stauber made a left point shot into Faucher’s glove. SSM was doing a good job pushing the Whitecaps out of their zone and keeping up with the professional women’s team, even when their skaters managed to fall into their own goaltender. During a Whitecaps flurry one shot hit the post, and Faucher whipped down her stick to block the rebound, but she couldn’t stop Minnesota’s third shot, which went into goal at 6:15.
Faucher caught Lisa Martinson’s low mid range shot as the team fended off several more attacks. At 9:29 Chelsey Brodt Rosenthal took a penalty and, while the Whitecaps technically killed the penalty, SSM scored at 11:36 as Rosenthal skated back to the bench. During an extended Whitecaps flurry a Stauber shot hit pipe from the back of the left circle and ended when Curtis made a falling slot shot into Faucher’s chest. At 18:36 Minnesota went back on the penalty kill as Kalli Funk wound up in the box, probably for elbowing, and served the full two minutes before returning to the ice second period.
As soon as they were back to full strength the Whitecaps went back on the attack and scored without fanfare. Not long after Taylor Stewart’s shot hit the corner post and a moment later her team scored at 2:00. SSM continued putting on some great offense, which included a solid shot by Hannah Bilka after she zipped down the left side. However, almost as soon as Minnesota got the puck back they scored again at 6:36. Faucher had to leap across her crease to foil a backdoor attempt.
Lacey Eden made a breakaway attempt, which ended with Amanda Boulier gently taking her down onto the ice and riding her into the backboards as other SSM skaters picked up the puck and tried to put it past Rossman. Funk went back to the box for hooking at 13:04. Two minutes later she was released from the box, caught the loose puck sliding past her, and shot it into Faucher. Near the end of the period Currie Putrah carried the puck into Minnesota’s zone and fired on goal the moment she reached the left circle, which slipped behind Rossman’s back into the net at 15:54.
At the start of third period Eliana Ray replaced Faucher in goal. Putrah made a close right side shot into Rossman’s glove. Minnesota treated SSM like they had a power play for the majority of the first several minutes of the period. Then Bilka slid laterally into the slot and her shot plinked against the crossbar as the puck made its way to the back of the net, tying the match with roughly eleven and a half minutes left in the period. When Bika returned to the bench several teammates excitedly hugged her, still not over her gorgeous goal.
SSM were invigorated by the goal and really pushed for a tie breaker, though the Whitecaps had better chances. Funk nearly tapped the puck past Ray as she spun through the crease, but the goaltender somehow managed to stop the shot. Then Amy Menke carried the puck up the left side and tried some fancy stick work in hopes of tricking Ray and got denied on the doorstep. Rossman blocked Celine Pietraszek’s center breakaway shot and then leaped across her crease to get in position as Carmen Merlo retrieved the rebound. At 14:57 Stauber took a penalty, which was about as effective as the last one on Funk, especially as Stauber also tried to nab the puck as soon as she returned to the ice.
Ray reached the puck first and the regulation ended with it on her stick as the 4-4 tie held. The teams immediately had five minutes of overtime, where the Whitecaps absolutely hammered Ray in goal. A Boulier pass off the backboards to Menke would have gone into the open backdoor, but due to a misfire her stick barely brushed the puck and Menke missed her opportunity. Curtis made the last shot in overtime, which sent the puck harmlessly bouncing off Ray’s pads as the clock ran out, officially ending the scrimmage as a tie. There was a shootout after the fact, but it was more for fun than anything else as it kept going after the Whitecaps won the initial best of three. The officials shut it down after round seven then the teams wrapped things up with the on ice handshake and a few photos.
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