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Girls hockey: Raiders win tournament title

Good news keeps pouring in for the Hastings girls hockey team. Between Christmas and the New Year's holidays, the Raiders won an eight-team tournament in Farmington to improve to 11-2-2 on the season.

All that positivity was bolstered over the holiday break by continuing contributions from former Raiders.

Erica McKenzie, the former HHS standout, has been helping out at practices for the last month and her contributions are appreciated, coach Jeff Corkish said.

Two current college players, Danielle Welch and Heidi Peterson, also stopped by over the break to help out.

They're all thrilled at the success being had by Hastings this season.

"This is one of the best records we've ever had," Corkish said. "This is one of those seasons where things are going right. The kids are competing and finding ways to win. It's fun to coach a group of kids like this."

Vs Lakeville North

Hastings started the tournament with a 2-0 win over Lakeville North.

The Panthers are led by a pair of outstanding eighth-graders, but the Hastings defense was able to stifle them and their teammates en route to the shutout.

Lakeville's top player, Alexis Joyce, has 32 points in 14 games.

"We had to keep her in check," Corkish said. "We got home-ice advantage so we could match if we wanted to. For the most part, we didn't give her a whole lot. We stuck on her. It makes a big difference when you have experienced defenseman like we do."

Among those players on defense who stood out against the Panthers was junior Mackenzie Holm.

"All weekend, I thought Mackenzie was outstanding," Corkish said. "She's been outstanding all year. She just takes so much pride in playing good defense. She's so valuable to us."

Hastings scored both of its goals late in the first period. Courtney Boucher scored at 14:04, assisted by Jordy Klimek and Holm.

One minute later, at 15:01, Klimek scored.

"The kids were playing pretty well in the first period, and Lakeville North is a pretty tough team," Corkish said. "We knew we had to work hard all game. The kids, for the most part, did a really nice job. We didn't play the best in the second period and gave them some opportunities, but we did what we needed to."

Stefanie Wical made 25 saves to earn the shutout.

"She made some really nice saves and held on to get the shutout," Corkish said.

Vs Farmington

Hastings beat the host team from Farmington in the second round, 4-2.

The Raiders jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. That lead, though, was barely safe.

In the second period, Farmington scored twice.

"We came out flying right away," Corkish said. "In the second period, we didn't play as well. We gave them some opportunities to get back into the game, and Farmington did that. By the end of the second, it was 3-2.

"We had to buckle down in the third period to take away any chances they got."

Hastings goals were scored by Klimek (two), Mackenzie Klimek and Hannah Simons. Assists were made by Erin Mortenson, Mackenzie Klimek, Brittney Huneke, Boucher and Kelsey Thompson.

Wical made 19 saves.

Vs Park

Hastings beat Park in the tournament championship game, 1-0.

Boucher scored the lone Hastings goal.

"She came down the left side and let one rip," Corkish said. "It was a good confidence booster for her and a good confidence booster for the team. Shoot when you can shoot, and ask questions later. That was a great example of what we've been working on for the last few weeks."

Jordy Klimek and Danielle Duffy each earned an assist.

Wical earned her second shutout of the tournament against the Wolfpack.

"She played another really good game," Corkish said. "She kept things very simple. She had good position. Good angles. She controlled a lot of the rebounds. At the end of the game, she stopped a big chance from of their players."

Corkish praised the play of Wical and defenseman Brittney Huneke. Both players were named to the all-tournament team, and Huneke was the tournament MVP.

"Brittney had a really good set of games," Corkish said. "She played good throughout the tournament."

Wical, meanwhile, made 24 saves.