Lightning finally rewarded for effort
Girls skaters sweep three games at Farmington tourney
Former NFL coach Bill Parcells once was quoted as saying, “You are what your record says you are.”
Herb Harvey wasn’t convinced that applied to his Eastview girls hockey team, which took a 3-9-1 record into the holiday break. Harvey said he believed the Lightning was much better than its record. The question was when – or if – the team would prove it.
Last week Eastview (6-9-1) doubled its victory total in three days by winning the Louis Schmitz Holiday Classic in Farmington.
It wasn’t so much that the Lightning raised its level of play, Harvey said, it was that the team finally got rewarded for playing the way it has all season.
“It wasn’t anything different, really,” Harvey said following the Lightning’s 7-0 victory over Park of Cottage Grove in Saturday’s tournament championship game. “The girls knew and the coaches knew we were a solid team. It was just a matter of time.”
Eastview, which allowed 43 goals in its first 13 games, was stingy on defense during the Farmington tournament. The Lightning defeated Shakopee 4-2 in the first round and edged Hastings 2-1 in overtime in the semifinals before shutting out Park.
Six of Eastview’s nine losses were by one goal. Three of them were overtime games. But the first period against Park signaled that the Lightning’s fortunes might be turning.
With Eastview leading 1-0, the defense and goalie Courtney Companion had to withstand major pressure during a Park power play. With the penalty time about to expire, a Park player fanned on a pass. That allowed the Lightning to forward the puck to Lindsay Koplitz, who had just come out of the penalty box. Koplitz got a breakaway and although her shot was stopped, Brie Zemian knocked in the rebound.
Instead of a 1-1 game, it was 2-0. Barely two minutes later, Erika Geary scored to make it 3-0.
“That made it a completely different game,” Harvey said. “When we scored again to make it 3-0, it put them on their heels and gave us a chance to play with a lead.”
Junior forward Ellie Cardinal had two goals and an assist in the championship game, and Natalie Snodgrass scored twice.
Koplitz scored with eight seconds remaining in the overtime period to win the game against Hastings. If the overtime ended with the game still tied, the teams would have gone to a shootout to determine who advanced to the championship game.
Snodgrass, who was named the Farmington tournament MVP, had two goals and an assist in the first-round victory over Shakopee. Companion, Snodgrass and defender Taylor Tvedt were named all-tournament.
Snodgrass, a sophomore forward, leads Eastview with 19 points (10 goals, nine assists). Four players have at least five goals and 12 players have at least one.
“It’s a hard-working team, and we don’t rely on just one or two players,” Harvey said. “In most situations, we can play three lines.”
Eastview’s rough start knocked it out of contention for the South Suburban Conference title; the Lightning was 1-7 in the league when it resumed SSC play at Bloomington Jefferson on Thursday. Now the team will try to be a force in the section playoffs that take place in February.
“It was frustrating because we had three wins going into the (Farmington) tournament and we could easily have had seven or more,” Harvey said. “We have to keep playing the way we have been and hope the bounces start going our way. I know these girls will give it 100 percent.”
Two other South Suburban teams played in the Farmington tournament. Apple Valley (9-6) won the consolation championship game 7-2 over Shakopee. The Eagles lost to Park 5-3 and defeated Farmington 1-0 in the first two rounds.
Rosemount (4-9-1) defeated Farmington 2-1 in the seventh-place game.
Apple Valley senior forward Emily Everson was named to the all-tournament team.
Eastview boys win
Both Eastview High School hockey teams won holiday tournaments.
Senior forward Nick Abbott scored three goals, all shorthanded, as the Eastview boys beat Rochester Mayo 7-2 in the championship game of the Kiwanis/Think Mutual Bank Festival on Saturday in Rochester.
Abbott’s flurry of shorthanded goals ended Mayo’s hopes of getting back in the game. Eastview jumped to a 3-0 lead, but Mayo scored on a power play at 13:44 of the second period. The Spartans were about to get another power play because Eastview picked up a cross-checking penalty on the goal.
Instead, Abbott scored 15 seconds into the penalty kill. Abbott scored another shorthanded goal with 43 seconds left in the second period and struck again at 4:13 of the third, giving him a natural hat trick of man-short goals.
Ryan McNamara assisted on all three of Abbott’s goals and finished with four assists for the game.
Sophomore goalie Zachary Driscoll made 23 saves as Eastview defeated Park of Cottage Grove 4-0 in the semifinals.
McNamara had a hat trick and one assist, Jake McGlocklin had two goals and two assists and Abbott had three assists in the Lightning’s 7-3 victory over New Richmond, Wis., in the quarterfinals.
The three victories in the Rochester tournament brought Eastview’s record to 7-5. The Lightning returns to South Suburban Conference play at home against Lakeville South at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.