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Raiders hold on to beat Blaze

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Last season, the Burnsville Blaze was the last team the Hastings girls hockey team got to play. The Blaze ended Hastings' season in the section tournament, ending a very successful 2009-10 season.

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On Saturday, the Raiders got revenge.

Hastings beat Burnsville, 5-4 in overtime, to improve to 2-0 on the season.

Hastings jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period, and at 14:31 of the second the Raiders went up 4-0. Things definitely looked promising.

Just 20 seconds later, though, Burnsville added a goal to make the score 4-1 going into the second intermission.

In the third period, the Blaze were on fire, scoring three unanswered goals to tie the game. The game-tying goal was scored with just 47 seconds left to play in regulation.

In overtime, Hastings coach Jeff Corkish struck up a conversation with junior forward Josie Stepan.

"We were on the bench and told her, 'Why don't you go out and score the game winner?'" Corkish said. "She goes, 'Yeah, I can do that.'

"Then she went out and scored the game winner. It was great."

Stepan brought the puck out from behind the net and tried to jam it in, but the Burnsville goalie had her skate tight up against the post. Stepan gave it another try and it got in.

"She really earned it," Corkish said.

Hastings got on the board early with a power play goal at 3:59 by freshman Natalie Simons. She was assisted by junior Kaitlin Stark and senior Courtney Boucher.

At 15:35 of the first, it was Stark's turn on the power play. She put the Raiders up 2-0, assisted by Simons and Boucher.

In the second period, Hannah Simons, a junior, scored short-handed at 3:08.

The fourth Hastings score came from the stick of senior Brittney Huneke, who scored unassisted at 14:31.

Just 23 seconds later Burnsville scored.

In the third, the Blaze got goals at 7:28, 11:41 and 16:13 to tie the score.

In overtime, Stepan scored at 1:21.

Senior goalie Stef Wical made 30 saves for the Raiders.

If the scoresheet makes it look like two very different games, it was.

"We just basically ran out of gas," Corkish said. "We played really well for two periods. We just battled. Really battled hard. We put a lot of pressure on them for two periods, and we ran out of gas. We got on our heels a little bit and we forgot what got us that 4-0 lead."

When the Blaze tied the game 4-4, Corkish and the coaching staff did everything they could to convince the players that they could still pull out a win. Apparently the team listened.

"You can get upset about letting a team back in the game like that, or you can just understand that's part of the game," Corkish said. "We knew we still had an opportunity to win the game. You have to talk to the kids, get them to settle down. We need them to come back and play hard and win the game. That's exactly what they did."

The win will also help the Raiders down the line, as the two teams play in the same section.

"We're very happy right now," Corkish said. "Burnsville is a tough team. When you can win a game like that against a section team, it's big for seeding at the end of the year, and it's a great way to start the season."

Schedule

Hastings played host to White Bear Lake on Tuesday night. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday and early deadlines, results of that game were not available at press time.

Hastings is back in action on Tuesday, Nov. 30, against Stillwater. Gametime is 7:30 p.m.

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Chad Richardson
Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
(651) 319-4500
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