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Park girls hockey : Wolfpack down Royals 3-1

Park senior Madison Nelson and the Wolfpack beat rival Woodbury 3-1 on Thursday, Jan. 23. (Submitted photo by Steve Rooker)

After one postponement and the threat of another, the Park girls hockey team second clash with Woodbury turned out to be worth the wait.

“It’s not very often that school gets cancelled and they’re disappointed because they thought the game would be cancelled,” Park coach Steve Morse said. “They wanted to play.”

Sub-zero temperatures led to the district canceling school for the third time in a month on Thursday, Jan. 23. The coaches had the option to keep their Jan. 23 game, which they did. The Wolfpack made the most of the opportunity as three Wolfpack skaters scored to beat the Royals 3-1 in a make-up game originally scheduled for Jan. 7.

“Our win against Woodbury showed us how much we’ve improved,” Emma Waller said.

Maddy Jeske opened the scoring with goal at 4:15 into the game for the Wolfpack (4-17-2, 2-12-2 Suburban East Conference). Maria Houle found Jeske on a back door pass.

“We had been working on that back door along time,” Jeske said. “It felt awesome that we finally put that one in the net.”

Mariah Troje scored on a power play 10 minutes later for a 2-0 Wolfpack lead over the Royals (6-16-1; 1-14-1 SEC). Alyssa Wickenhouser and Jeske set Troje up for the score.

The Wolfpack staved off the Royals’ attempt to rally. One puck went in for the Royals late in the second period, but Paige Hill sealed the game for the Wolfpack late in the third. She scored unassisted with 19 seconds remaining on an empty-netter.

“We really stepped up against Woodbury, playing all together,” Jeske said.

Wolfpack goalie Paige Press had a save percentage of .947 with 18 saves. She picked up her third win in goal of the season.

“Paige is a great goalie,” Hill said. “She stops all of the shots.”

Against Stillwater, the Wolfpack had a rally of their own in a Saturday, Jan. 25 home contest. Down 3-1, Houle scored twice unassisted for the Wolfpack to tie the game 3-3 with 5:22 remaining in regulation.

“I’ve asked them to work hard, compete hard,” Morse said. “That’s

four games in a row that they’ve done that.”

The Ponies (15-6-1; 12-3-1 SEC) responded with aggressive play to the net and punched in a goal at the 15:08 mark, 4-3. The Wolfpack could not get another goal in the loss at Cottage Grove Ice Arena.

Jeske had the first goal of the game for the Wolfpack. Hill and Houle had assists on that goal. Press had 34 saves and an .895 save percentage.

“She’s playing as well as anyone in the state,” Morse said.

The Wolfpack wrap up the regular season on Saturday at home against first-place Cretin-Derham Hall (15-8, 12-4 SEC). They will face off at 7:30 p.m.

—Matthew Davis