Tiger girls’ hockey blanked by Blue Devils

MARSHALL – Almost a month after falling to the Long Prairie-Grey Eagle/Wadena-Deer Creek Blue Devils in Long Prairie, the Marshall girls’ hockey team had a shot for revenge on Saturday.

A stagnant first period for the Tigers, however, derailed any plans of retribution. Behind a 15-3 shot advantage in the first period, the Blue Devils struck first with Kylee Drumm’s unassisted goal at the 6-minute, 40-second mark. Though they would add another, Drumm’s opening-period tally was all the Blue Devils needed as goaltender Hannah Wedde turned aside all 18 shots she faced in the 2-0 victory.

After the rough first period, the Tigers settled into their game and turned the contest into a back-and-forth affair.

“We had made some adjustments from when we played them the first time,” Marshall head coach Kevin Schroeder said. “We really tried focusing on containing them on the defensive end. Defensive coverage, not giving them so much room because we knew last time they were very physical with us and played the body a lot more. And we weren’t used to that, so we tried making some adjustments.

“We didn’t get off as many shots as we wanted. We skated with some good energy and that’s what we talked about between the first and second periods was getting more shots on net and trying to open it up.”

The Tigers (5-11 overall) closed down the shot discrepancy over the final two periods, a 16-15 edge in favor of the Blue Devils, but were unable to beat Wedde.

After 16 minutes of fire wagon hockey in the second period, it looked as though the Tigers would enter the locker room with momentum squarely on their side. But in the final minute of the period a battle for the puck in the right corner of Marshall’s defensive zone swung in the Blue Devils’ favor to the surprise of just about everyone, including Long Prairie’s Brooke Umland.

Umland had positioned herself directly in front of the net during the battle along the boards and received Sarah Najjar’s sneaky pass undefended and on the doorstep. A quick release and Umland had given the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead with 52 seconds before the intermission.

“We all thought it was definitely a surprise to her, not sure how it got to (Umland) but it did and sometimes that’s how it goes,” Schroeder said.

Marshall goalie Morgan Morrill stopped 29 of 31 shots in the game to keep the Tigers in contention despite the shaky start. The Tigers had previously been beaten by the Blue Devils 4-0 on Dec. 8 in Long Prairie.

“I thought Morgan had a very good game in net,” Schroeder said. “She made some good saves and was pretty solid. The team had confidence in her.”

The Tigers continued to play hard in the third period, but could not find their first goal despite numerous chances.

“I thought the girls did a really good job in the second and third period,” Schroeder said. “We had our chances, we just couldn’t capitalize on them. We definitely had shots, but we’ve got to learn at this time of the year to be pouncing on rebounds and putting traffic in front of the net, do all the little things. But we were happy with the last two periods.”

Marshall will look to bounce back from its 10th loss in the last 12 games when the Tigers host Southwest Conference foe Worthington as part of a boy/girl doubleheader at Lockwood Motors Ice Arena on Tuesday.

“We’ve just got to stay patient and continue to work hard,” Schroeder said. “We want to be playing our best here at the tail-end of the season.”

The Tiger girls face off against the Trojans at 5:30 p.m. with the boys’ game to follow.