FAIRMONT — Whatever Fairmont Area head coach Eric Householder said during the second intermission, his Cardinal girls hockey players took the instructions to task on Thursday night.
Tied at 3-all after a back-and-forth first two periods, Karissa Newville and Hannah Goerndt struck for goals within an 88-second span in the third segment to propel Fairmont Area to a 5-4 non-league victory over the Austin Packers at Martin County Arena.
“I just told them if we threw the puck on net enough to start the third period, we could score a couple of goals and win this game,” said Householder.
Mission accomplished as Newville snapped the deadlock by taking defender Shaye Dietz’s lengthy pinpoint pass on the rush and buried a right-wing liner into the twine. Newville’s lamp-lighter staked the Cardinals to a 4-3 lead with 11:15 remaining in regulation.
“As I said before the season started, I was a little worried about how strong our defense would be after losing two long-time varsity defenders in Kenzie (Householder) and Macy (Militello) to graduation,” said Eric Householder. “Shaye (Dietz), Corene (Moeller) and Harper (Artz) stepped it up back there tonight, and of course, (goaltender) Hadley (Artz) turned in a solid game for us, too.”
Hannah Goerndt extended Fairmont Area’s lead to 5-3 by working the left end line before converting a double-assist from Bella Larson and Brooklyn Murphy into the eventual game-winning goal at the 9:47 juncture in the third period.
Senior forward Sarah Wangen, however, capitalized quickly by netting her second goal of the contest just 19 seconds later to inch Austin within 5-4. Wangen skated wide on a left-wing push and wristed a left-to-right shot by Hadley Artz.
Hadley Artz, however, responded down the stretch by turning away a Wangen shot from the crease before Fairmont Area’s Bella Larson delivered a pivotal defensive gem with 2:52 remaining in regulation. Austin appeared to have a breakaway chance with 3 minutes to go in regulation, but Larson sticked away the puck by catching the Packer skater from behind to prevent a shot on goal.
Murphy opened the scoring for the Cardinals by weaving through traffic before nailing a right-to-left blast by Austin goalie Chloe Schaal with 14:39 left in the opening frame.
Wangen countered by settling the loose puck, breezed down the left wing and flipped a backhander into the webbing for a 1-all tie with 7:18 left in the first.
Payton Squier then scored the first of her two goals for the Packers by cashing in Wangen’s centering pass for a power-play goal inside the left pipe at the 13:38 mark of the second period.
Larson needed only 45 seconds to match Squier’s goal by converting a double-assist from Murphy and Hannah Goerndt into a left-side jam shot for a 2-all score.
Squier then uncorked an odd-bouncing shot from the boards just inside the offensive blue line that caromed over Hadley Artz’s shoulder for a nearly impossible-angle goal at the 10:18 juncture.
Larson pulled the Cardinals even on the scoreboard by tapping home her second goal of the game into the top left shelf on the heels of Hannah Goerndt winning a face-off with 5:02 left in the middle segment for a 3-all tie.
Hadley Artz finished with a game-best 24 saves to earn the win between the pipes for the Cardinals. Schaal netted 19 stops for Austin.
Fairmont Area (1-1) plays host to Luverne at 7 p.m. Tuesday night at Martin County Arena in Fairmont.
Austin (0-1) plays host to Windom Area at 1 p.m. Saturday.
FMT–Brooklyn Murphy (Abi Sundeen), 14:39.
AU–Sarah Wangen (unassisted), 7:18.
AU–Payton Squier (Sarah Wangen), PP., 13:38.
FMT–Bella Larson (Brooklyn Murphy, Hannah Goerndt), 12:53.
AU–Payton Squier (unassisted), 10:18.
FMT–Bella Larson (Hannah Goerndt), 5:02.
FMT–Karissa Newville (Shaye Dietz), 11:15.
FMT–Hannah Goerndt (Bella Larson, Brooklyn Murphy), 9:47.
AU–Sarah Wangen (unassisted), 9:28.
Shots-on-goal: Austin 6-13-9–28; Fairmont Area 6-8-10–24. Saves: Hadley Artz (Fairmont) 24; Chloe Schaal (Austin) 19.
Penalties: Fairmont Area 5 for 10 minutes; Austin none.
Power-play chances: Austin 1-for-5; Fairmont Area 0-for-0.