The Hastings girls' hockey team dropped a pair of games this last week as the Raiders ended a rough stretch of nonconference games. On Tuesday, Nov. 29, Hastings hosted Hudson where they lost 7-2. They then traveled to Farmington Friday, Dec. 2, where they lost 6-3. Hastings dropped to 1-7 after the loss to Farmington, having lost seven in a row after beating Mahtomedi in their opener.
The Raiders struggled to stay out of the penalty box against Hudson according to head coach Josh Colvin, which resulted in the Raiders having difficulty defending the ensuing power plays.
"We started strong, but struggled to play a clean, physical game," Colvin explained. "Our angling in the neutral zone especially led to a lot of rushes. In the first period we took too many penalties, which cost us three goals in that period alone and four total for the night. Bottom line, we have to stay out of the box, and we have to do a better job when we are in it."
Hudson got off to a quick lead and kept up the pressure on Hastings, scoring four goals in the first period, three of those on power plays. They added three more goals in the second period. Hastings was finally able to get on the board halfway through the second period on a goal from Rachel Klimek, assisted by MacKenzie Putnam. Lauren Tix added Hastings' second goal in the third period, assisted by Layna Connell and Nicole Neuman. Hastings was outshot by Hudson 27-19 and had double Hudson's penalty minutes: 12 minutes to Hudson's six.
Going into conference play, Colvin said Hastings still had plenty to work on but that there have also been bright spots in the performances of several girls.
"Laynee Connell continues to be our on-ice leader, both on the score sheet and in the battles," Colvin said. "We'll continue to work on our goaltending, but the issue is youth and inexperience, which take time to work out. Both goalies are working hard and we are optimistic to have Alayna (Kunshier) back and healthy for Friday against Farmington."
Friday against Farmington saw the return of freshman goalie Alayna Kunshier, but the Raiders once again found themselves in a hole to start the game. Farmington scored two goals in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Hastings answered just five seconds into the second period with a goal by Alexa Harrington, assisted by Rachel Klimek. However, after the Raiders cut their lead to 2-1, Farmington responded with a goal of their own toward the end of the second period and went into the third period with a 3-1 lead. They extended their lead to 4-1 before the Raiders grabbed two goals from Klimek and Addie Buck, each within minutes of the other, to cut Farmington's lead to 4-3. Farmington was able to put the Raiders away with two more goals at the end of the game, one an empty netter.
Hastings traveled to Tartan to face North/Tartan Tuesday, Dec. 6, resuming conference play. They host Mahtomedi Friday, Dec. 9.