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Woodbury girls hockey: Royals rally for pair of wins, improve to 4-2

Yogi Bera’s saying, “it ain’t over ‘til it’s over,” could work as a slogan for the Woodbury girls hockey team.

The Royals rallied in two games for a pair of one-goal wins during the past week to improve their record to 4-2 overall through Monday, November 25.  They rallied from 3-1 deficits both times to beat the Saint Paul Blades 5-4 and the Park Wolfpack 4-3.

“We’re battling right to the final horn, and that’s extremely encouraging,” Royals coach Chris Lepper said.

Making changes to the game plan after the first period made a difference for the Royals (4-2, 1-1 Suburban East) in those comebacks.

 They outscored their opponents 8-5 in the final two periods of those games.

“They’re really doing well with any system changes we’ve had to make based on what our opponents are running and we feel will give the better opportunity to win,” Lepper said.

Against the Blades (1-3-1, 0-0 Tri-Metro) on Thursday, Nov. 21, senior forward Sarah Wahlin posted a hat trick in the 5-4 win.  She started the scoring on a power pay at 5:58 into the game on assists from sophomore forward Livia Twohig and junior forward Ashley Krinke for a 1-0 lead.

“She’s playing on a line that really compliments each other very well,” Lepper said.  “They seem to be working extremely well.  A goal is a product of many other things other people are doing.”

Her second goal came after three unanswered power play goals by the Blades on Thursday, Nov. 21.  Wahlin scored on a power play, assisted by junior defender Skye Shock, and it cut the lead to 3-2.  Wahlin scored her near the end of the period unassisted to tie the game 3-3.

“When she gets her opportunities to bury the puck, she buries the puck,” Lepper said.

Wahlin leads the team in scoring through Monday with nine points.

Junior forward Kayla Falconer has six points through that span, including two goals in the third period of the Blades game.  Those goals broke the 3-3 tie an allowed the Royals to build a 5-3 lead.

Twohig and junior forward Cassy Morris assisted on those goals.

Falconer had the tying goal in the third period against the Wolfpack (0-5, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday, Nov. 23.  She scored on a power play, assisted by Morris and sophomore forward Michelle McAlpine.

“The power play has been working well for us and is scoring at opportune times,” Lepper said.

Royals freshman forward Shannon Motzko scored her first varsity goal on the assist from Twohig.  The goal cut the Wolfpack 2-0 to a goal, 2-1 early in the second period.

“She went to the net extremely hard,” Leppers said of Motzko.  “Livia Twohig saw her and made a great pass across, and Shannon put it in on

the back end.”

Alyssa Wickenhouser put the Wolfpack back up by two goals, 3-1, late in the second.  Morris pulled the Royals within a goal again on an assist from Wahlin just minutes later.

Those two connected again in the third period with Wahlin scoring the game-winning goal with an assist from Morris.  Senior goalie Kaelan Geisser finished with 25 saves.

“We are excited that the team is winning but know that we have a ways to go before we are clicking on all cylinders,” Lepper said.

The Royals hosted rival East Ridge (3-0, 1-0 SEC) on Tuesday and will host Tartan (2-1, 1-0 Classic Suburban) on Saturday.  Then, the Royals

will face No. 11-rated Roseville (4-0, 1-0 SEC) on Tuesday, December 5.

“We’re going to have to play hard the whole game,” Lepper said.

-Matthew Davis