Keely Olness hoped that Minnesota River’s easy-peasy 6-2 win over visiting Windom Area Nov. 19 would segue the Bulldogs from two-straight losses last week to a strong showing against rival New Ulm later in the week.
“I feel this game got us prepared for what we need to do,” said the senior center, who tallied five points and picked up her first varsity hat trick during the outing against Windom, 0-2 with the loss.
Five minutes into the first period, Olness sailed a shot from the slot into the top right corner of the mesh for a 1-1 tie.
Junior wing Nicole McCabe did Olness a solid on both that goal as well as the first of two she would have in the third period,
“She’s always giving me the puck at the right time,” Olness said. “She’s got very good plays.”
Taking a handoff from Sophia Wilson two minutes later, Olness assisted Makenna Mueller to give the Bulldogs a lead they would never relinquish.
It was the first varsity goal for Mueller, an eighth grader, who, as a U12 player last season, leap frogged JV to a spot on the varsity first line this year.
“It was really quick shot from the blue line, and I just kind of tipped it in,” said Mueller, who credits Olness and McCabe for taking her under their wings this season. “It was kind of like in slow motion.”
Five minutes into period 2, Olness returned McCabe the favor. Mueller initiated the sequence for a 3-1 Bulldog advantage.
The two teams traded a goal in the remainder of the second period. The Bulldogs’ was by Emma Seaver, assisted by Adrianna Bixby and Anna Pavio.
Two minutes into the final frame, Mueller to McCabe to Olness on the breakaway put the Bulldogs up 5-2. Two and a half minutes after that goal, Olness completed the hat trick with a solo shot from behind the goal line that bounced off the goalie’s stick, through her legs and into the webbing.
Each team served one 2-minute penalty, but all goals were even strength. The Bulldogs’ parked 36 shots on the Windom net. Minnesota River starting goalie Madison Kisor had 16 saves. Stepping between the pipes five minute into the final frame, Amelia Messner had seven saves.
Olness said New Ulm, 2-2 with a win over Laverne, shoots very well from the point, has tough defenders and is very fast. The puck drops at 7 pm.