The Minnesota River Bulldogs girls hockey team suffered its third loss in a row when they fell 5-2 to Luverne on Friday night, Jan. 29, at the Le Sueur Community Center.
The Bulldogs started strong as Darbi Dunning, with an assist by Adrianna Bixby, scored the first goal of the game midway through the first period. That lead only lasted for about two minutes, when Luverne’s Regan Feit used a power play to sneak a goal past Amelia Messer.
Luverne took advantage of another power play in the second period to take a 2-1 lead.
Bulldogs senior Emma Seaver, assisted by Nicole McCabe and Anna Pavlo, evened things up about 90 seconds later.
Luverne’s Reghan Bork was the key to the Bulldogs’ defeat. Bork scored a hat trick to earn Luverne the win, scoring one goal at the end of the second period and netting two more in the third to hand the Bulldogs a 5-2 loss.
Luverne dominated action at the net, outshooting the Bulldogs 42-22.
Messer took the loss in the net, stopping 37 shots on goal.
Coach Tom Blaido said he knew Luverne was going to be a top team to beat, as they have a lot of goal scorers and speed.
“I was very proud of our kids.They didn’t go into the game with an awestruck approach; they lined up across from them and went toe to toe. It wasn’t until later in the game that Luverne added a couple of goals to pull away. Our kids showed a lot of grit,” Blaido said.
The Bulldogs have an opportunity for revenge, as they are scheduled for a rematch with Luverne on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. They then turn around and welcome Worthington to the Le Sueur Community Center on Friday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m.
When Blaido informed his team that they would have a rematch with Luverne on Tuesday, it was met with cheers.
“They held the lead in this game for a bit and were tied with them for a large portion. I guess they feel this was a game they could have had, but unfortunately, it just got away from them,” Blaido said.
The Bulldogs had just one practice before the rematch, and Blaido said they worked on closing the holes in the penalty kill, picking up the trailer on the rush, keeping plays on the outside, and forcing their opponent to shoot from a distance.