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Adjusting and learning is the name of the game

Sophomore goalie Alayna Kunshier drops down to block a shot during Hastings' loss to Park of Cottage Grove. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Senior forward Callie McNary brings the puck down the ice against the Park Wolfpack. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The Hastings girls' hockey team is 1-4 through its first five games as it battles through a tough portion of the schedule made up of section opponents. After dropping its first two games to Park and Apple Valley, the Raiders were able to bounce back against Woodbury before then dropping two more to East Ridge and Eagan.

They hosted Woodbury on Tuesday, Nov. 13, and beat the Royals 2-0. Senior Josie Kummer scored in the first period (assisted by juniors Libby Judge and Sam Benson) and then junior Maddie Junker scored in the third period (assisted by sophomores Taylor Larson and Jailyn Munson). Hastings won 2-0.

They then ran into a roadblock when they traveled to East Ridge on Thursday, Nov. 16. Hastings quickly fell behind 2-0 to the Raptors in the first period before Larson scored on the power play (assisted by Junker and Benson). However, East Ridge scored one more goal before the end of the period to lead 3-1 going into the second.

From there it was all East Ridge as they added two goals in the second and one in the third to win 5-1.

Head coach Josh Colvin said that the stretch, while not ideal, has provided a good learning experience for the Raiders.

"We're 1-3 and of course you always want to be 4-0, but I guess the question that we're looking at is 'what are the reasons for those losses, what can we learn from them and how can we correct those mistakes,'" he said. "So that the problems we're having in November don't pop up in December and January."

Colvin said the areas the team has been working on based on the first few games are their power play, penalty kill, penalties in general, and being in proper position in front of the net on offense.

However, a positive from the first four games is a significant increase in offense on the part of the Raiders compared to last season. Colvin said it can be attributed to a change in scheme of putting more players on the puck compared to what they ran last year. He instituted the change at the end of last season and Hastings has seen many more opportunities doing the same this season.

On Saturday, Nov. 18, Hastings hosted Eagan, who Colvin said can be considered the favorite in their section. The Raiders fell 7-0 and next play Tuesday, Nov. 21, when they host Simley.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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