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Raiders lose three straight SEC matchups

After a strong start in Suburban East Conference play, the Hastings girls hockey team has come upon some leaner times.

The Raiders have lost three SEC games in a row, slipping to 4-3-4 in league play.

"This last week was a tough one for our team in terms of wins and losses," Coach Jeff Corkish said. "Our kids know they are much better than this and have a lot of pride in themselves so we know they will come back with a lot of fire and get back on track. It takes hard work and commitment and yesterday in practice we saw that same spark that we had when we were playing to win games and not just get through them. I really feel that teams need to go through tough times like this to be ready for the end of the season. Time will tell."

Hastings lost to Park on Thursday, Jan. 3, 4-3.

"We ... got off to a slow start," Corkish said. "We did not have our feet moving and as a result we did not get much pressure on them and cause many turnovers. We were soft in the defensive zone with them which gave them more puck possession time than we wanted to see."

Hastings fell behind 1-0 in the first period.

In the second period, Sami Claussen tied the score, assisted by Natalie Simons and Kiki Radke.

"The second period saw us coming out and playing the game we know how to play," Corkish said. "Our feet were moving all over the place and we started to take time and space away all period long. The puck possession time was greatly in our favor. The score could have been 4 or 5-1 but we did not take advantage of our rebounds as we should have."

Hastings got goals down the stretch from Anna Williams (assisted by Nicole Klimek) and Erin Moes (assisted by Kit Ruedy and Claussen. By the end of the third period, the game was tied 3-3 and it headed into overtime.

"The third period saw a lot of the same from our second period effort, but we sprinkled in a few too many mental mistakes, resulting in a couple of bad goals given up and a tie score at the end of regulation," Corkish said. "We have to get back to doing the little things, such as wanting to block a shot or earn the red line in order to win the close games. This game was an example of how to let a team back in the game after having a great effort in the second and third periods.

In overtime, Park scored the game-winner. Hastings had its chance, but lost on a breakaway.

"Overtime saw us dominate early with possession again but we got a little too aggressive, giving up a breakaway resulting in our third loss of the season," Corkish said. "Our kids were upset with the loss and knew they needed to come out with a better effort in the first period, but the coaches did like the fact that they had the ability to turn on the switch to play hard the remainder of the game. Although we are not getting the results we want in terms of wins and losses, our kids are learning a lot by trying to do the right thing - then need the opportunity to make some mistakes in games so they can get out of their comfort zone and advance with their skills. In the end we will be a better team because our kids are pushing themselves to get better."

Brooke Weber played in goal for Hastings. She made 14 saves on 18 shots.

Hastings had 40 shots on goal.

Vs Stillwater

Hastings lost to Stillwater on Saturday, 7-0, in a game that was much closer than the final score would indicate.

The Ponies scored one goal in the first period, then added one in the second.

The scored stayed 2-0 until there was about seven minutes left. Then the Ponies added five goals,including one short-handed goal and one with three seconds to play.

"(We) had another difficult day getting out of the blocks," Corkish said. "The difference in this game is that we were playing a much better team than we saw on Tuesday night in Park and that did not leave us with much opportunity to stay in that game very long. They showed us what it looked like to win a race to a puck as well as how to win a battle anywhere on the ice. The effort was very disappointing for the coaches to see and showed us that a few of our kids need to refocus and remember what kind of dedication it takes, doing the little ugly things, to win hockey games.

"We lost a lot of races, won few battles, were soft on our sticks losing a lot of battles for pucks, made weak attempts getting the puck deep and overall just showed that we did not want it very badly."

Vs Forest Lake

Hastings lost to Forest Lake on Tuesday night, 2-1.

The Rangers scored at 5:33 of the second period to take a 1-0 lead. The Raiders countered with a goal at 11:17 by Cooper, assisted by Jackie Stark.

In the third period, with just three seconds to play, Forest Lake scored the game-winner on the power play.

Hastings had 33 shots on goal.

Weber made 21 saves on 23 shots.