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East Ridge girls hockey: Raptors edge rival Wolfpack, remain unbeaten

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East Ridge had a tough time getting anything past Park junior goalie Paige Press Tuesday, but earned a 1-0 victory over the Wolfpack at Bielenberg Arena in Woodbury.

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Press, a former East Ridge goalie, who transferred to Park last season, made 35 saves in what Park head coach Steve Morse called one of the best performances he’s seen from a goaltender. Morse would know, he’s had some excellent goaltenders come through the program in recent years with Caitlin Tate last season and his daughter Ali Morse for several years before that.

“I know it was important for her to play well tonight,” Morse said. “That goes down as probably one of the top three performances I’ve seen in eight years. She’s capable of doing that every night, so we always have a chance.”

Press’ play even drew praise from Raptors head coach Wes Walz.

“Paige Press played lights out,” Walz said. “We know she’s one of the best goalies in our conference. Anytime we play Park we know it’s tough to score on her.”

Anya Hafiz’s rebound goal at 13 minutes, 24 seconds of the first period stood as the only tally East Ridge found despite having numerous opportunities throughout the game.

The Raptors (3-0, 1-0 SEC) had 36 shots on goal for the game, including 18 in the third period, but couldn’t solve Press. East Ridge had a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity for 1:25 in the third period, but even then the Raptors couldn’t find a goal.

“We didn’t really have much of a chance to work on it other than calling them over for 30 seconds and telling girls where I’d like them to be,” Walz said. “Even calling them over we didn’t really set up the way I wanted them to.”

The Wolfpack (0-5, 0-2 SEC) tried to keep East Ridge off-balance by running lines differently. The Raptors tried to key in on certain line matchups but Park countered that in the game.

“Their bench was doing a great job of matching our lines and trying to take advantage of the situation they were presented with,” Morse said. “We went random. It’s not done very often, but they couldn’t match anything because they didn’t know who was going out next.”

The Wolfpack gained some momentum in the second period to put five shots on goal, but back-to-back penalties in the third period killed that surge quickly. Madison Nelson got called for tripping 50 seconds into the third period and Alyssa Wickenhouser followed that with a checking penalty at 1:26.

Following the win over Park, East Ridge put 35 shots on net and had four different players record a goal Saturday in a 4-2 victory over White Bear Lake in White Bear Lake.

Raptors senior forward Jaedyn Walz pumped in a pair of goals in the first period. Walz scored a short-handed goal 7 minutes, 25 seconds into the game on an assist from junior Cara Kaufer and a power-play goal at 12:16 on an assist from freshman forward Alyssa Wallace and senior forward Kayla Bender.

East Ridge (4-0, 2-0 SEC) put 18 shots on goal in the first period and led 2-1. The Bears (3-3, 0-2 SEC) tied the game temporarily at the 8:03 mark with a power-play goal from Lexi Englund.

The Raptors added to their lead in the second period with a goal from sophomore forward Brooklyn Pierre with assists from senior defenseman Jessica Hammer and sophomore forward Anya Hafiz.

White Bear Lake got back in the game 43 seconds into the third period with a power-play goal from Ashley Healy to make it a 3-2 game.

East Ridge junior forward Jessie Andersen put the game out of reach with a goal at 13:31 of the third period on an assist from Pierre and Hafiz. Hafiz finished with two assists in the game.

The Raptors held the Bears to 12 shots for the game as Erin Cheatham made 10 saves for the win.

East Ridge heads to a tournament Friday at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

 -Nick Gerhardt

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