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Woodbury girls hockey: Royals edge rival Park

Woodbury's Kayla Falconer celebrates a goal in front of the Wolfpack's net. The Royals edged Park 4-3 last week.

Woodbury sustained a 5-minute major and a last-minute flurry from Park Tuesday to hang on for a 4-3 victory at Bielenlberg Arena in Woodbury.

The Wolfpack (2-8-1, 0-6-1 SEC) let a prime opportunity slip through their grasp after a checking from behind penalty gave them a 5-minute power play down 4-2 in the third period. But instead got a goal with less than a minute left from senior forward Mary Turitto.

"Killing the 5-minute major was the game," Royals head coach Chris Lepper said. "We put a lot of pressure on them to run their top unit for that whole time."

Park didn't generate many shots or quality scoring chances throughout the power play.

"Our players took five minutes off," Wolfpack head coach Steve Morse said. "We had sticks not ready to get the puck, not ready to get to the puck, not anxious to get a hold of the puck ... just took five minutes off."

Park also took a slashing penalty during the 5-minute major to negate nearly half the power play.

Woodbury (2-7-1, 1-5-1 SEC) got what proved the game-winner at 5:14 of the third period from sophomore forward Kayla Falconer from the far right circle to extend Royals' lead 4-2. The goal seemed inconsequential at the time, but proved important later.

The goal lifted Woodbury to its first conference victory and first in seven games. It also helped build some confidence in a team needing some after scoring just six goals in that seven-game span.

"It lifts the team up for sure to get this win," Royals senior forward Caroline Joyce said.

Sophomore defenseman Erin Goodell had a goal and an assist. Junior forward Sarah Wahlin finished with two assists for Woodbury and Livia Twohig had one.

For Park it meant a fourth consecutive loss where it's been outscored 22-8 in its past four games. Those losses include a 7-3 loss to 19th-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall and a 8-2 loss to 18th-ranked Stillwater.

"We had extremely brief glimpses of a good effort," Morse said. "You gotta tie all those together. They can't be brief and they can't be far apart."

The Wolfpack climbed back into the game after starting the third period down 3-1 with a goal from senior forward Alicia Wagenman on the power play 56 seconds into the third period on a feed from Turitto and junior defenseman Anna Keys.

Kimberlee Taplin scored two goals, including her first of the season, in the second period as the Royals took control in the second period. Woodbury outshot Park 12-6 in the period. Taplin's first goal came at 12:27 on a wrist shot from the left circle that went into the upper corner of the net blocker side. Taplin's second goal came on a Wolfpack turnover near the same spot Taplin scored her first.

Park took two penalties in the second period that proved fruitless for the Royals, but the Wolfpack appeared sloppy throughout the second period.

Park senior goaltender Caitlin Tate made 24 saves, but got lifted in favor of freshman goaltender Jordan Scollick after giving up the fourth goal of the game.

The Wolfpack finished with 35 shots for the game and Woodbury finished with 28.

Keys finished with two assists for Park.

Park had a 1-0 in the first period just 2:03 into the game after sophomore Meg Ackerman tipped a shot past Royals goaltender Kaelen Geisser. Park outshot the Royals 8-6 in the first period.

Woodbury answered 34 seconds later when sophomore defenseman Erin Goodell scored in front of the Wolfpack's net.

Geisser finished with 32 saves and came up big in the third period during the 5-minute major and in the final seconds. After Turitto's goal with 47 seconds left, Turitto just missed on another opportunity on the backside of the goal as Geisser made a save with her skate.

Park faced Forest Lake Saturday in Forest Lake while the Royals went against 19th-ranked Cretin-Derham Hall on Saturday in St. Paul. Next, Park plays in the Farmington tournament, beginning on Dec. 27, while Woodbury is at a tournament in New Hope that starts that same day.

"The big thing is the kids are controlling the puck more, they're moving the puck more," Lepper said. "They have confidence in what they do. We've just seen them get consistently better as the season's gone on."