Girls Hockey: Tartan moves to 3-1 with triumph over St. Louis Park, Shakopee

Hill-Murray dominates Eden Prairie

Tartan 6 - St. Louis Park 2

Behind the three-goal hat trick of junior center Ellie Tabaka, the Tartan High School girls posted their third straight hockey win Thursday, Nov. 21.

Also with a pair of goals was senior forward Hannah Croonquist.

When combined with the solid goaltending of Maggie Straka, the Titans put the Orioles back on the bus for the long ride back to St. Louis Park with a 6-2 defeat.

“We played hard the whole game,” said Orioles coach Donnie Williams. “I never question the effort these girls give. We’ve had a tough early schedule, and we’re tired right now. But I’m proud to the way they work.”

St. Louis Park is now 0-4-1 on the season.

Tartan first-year coach Nick Fuerst had this to say about his skaters: “We’re learning the system well. We move the puck and play our positions well.

“Things are looking good for us right now. We are 3-1. We lost our first game to a tough East Ridge team. But we scored some goals tonight.

“Tabaka had the hat trick. Croonquist had a pair of goals and (Jordan) Jackson was solid on defense, Fuerst said.

“Then we had strong goaltending out of Straka. She is solid between the pipes and is a strong senior captain who gives us great leadership.”

The Titans topped the first period and led after outshooting the Orioles 10-4 with an unassisted effort by Croonquist.

A good rush saw her move around a defender and into the slot. She fired a 20-footer through a screen that found a niche inside the right pipe at 4:46 of the first period.

Play moved into the second period, and the Titans picked up the pace. A feed from Jackson from a scrum in front of the net saw Croonquist fire a sizzler for a 2-0 Tartan lead at 7:08 of the second period.

Late in the period, Tabaka got into the act when she moved into the St. Louis Park zone. She cut through the circle to the right of the Orioles net and moved into the slot. A quick wrist shot bounced off a pad and found its way to the back mesh inside the right post. Tabaka’s first goal at 14:34 of the second session turned out to be the game-winner.

The Orioles then began a comeback on the heels of Tartan penalties.

With a Titan in the penalty box for interference, St. Louis Park scored at 15:37.

At the end of two periods, the Titans owned a shots-on-goal advantage of 27-11 and a 3-1 margin in goals.

It took St. Louis Park just 14 seconds into the third period and on a power play to move the scoreboard to an uncomfortable one-goal difference.

With the score a menacing 3-2, the Titans shook off the threat when they had a skater advantage.

Good puck movement in the St. Louis Park end saw Jaimee Nowicki pass to Claire Herzog, who relayed to Tabaka. She moved the count to 4-2 when she dented the back twines at 3:44.

Less than two minutes later, a pass from Cali Pearcy hit the stick of Tabaka. She moved around a fallen defender to the edge of the left circle and fired a hard shot high into the upper left corner for the 5-2 tally at 5:27.

Late in the period a St. Louis Park penalty was capitalized on by the Titans when Maddie Ciolkosz put the puck on the blade of Jackson. The junior defender let a slap shot fly from the top of the circle to the right. Her bullet sizzled the back twines for the 6-2 final at 14:07.

Tartan will next meet Woodbury at Tartan Arena at 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30.

Tartan 4 - Shakopee 3

The Titans traveled to Shakopee to meet the Sabers on Tuesday, Nov. 19. The Titans put in a solid effort and never trailed in a tight game that was not settled until overtime.

Tartan moved to a 3-0 lead and then saw the Sabers make a concerted attempt at a come-from-behind win.

The first goal came on an Ellie Tabaka pass to Jordan Jackson, who fired a shot into the Shakopee net at 15:33 of period one.

In the second period, the duo of Jackson and Tabaka teamed up to feed the puck to linemate Gabriella Bjellos. The ninth-grade winger made good on a shot at 2:29.

Tartan moved to a 3-0 advantage when Tabaka picked up her third point with a blast into the back twines at 7:30.

The Sabers finally got a goal at 14:19 of the second period.

At 3:14 into the third period and again at 9:38 the Sabers scored to knot the count at 3-3.

Both sides then saw their respective goalies - Madeline Campbell for Tartan and Amber Flood for Shakopee - make saves that ensured the contest would not be settled in regulation time.

Tabaka picked up her second goal and fourth point of the game when she torched the back twines of the Shakopee net with the game-winner at 5:43 into the overtime session.

Hill-Murray 5 - Eden Prairie 0

The Hill-Murray Pioneers traveled Tuesday, Nov. 19, to Eden Prairie to open the current girls hockey season and grounded the Eagles with a 5-0 victory.

A well-rounded skating effort saw the Pioneers pick up scoring from five separate players.

What turned out to be the game-winner came early when Rebecca Zarembinski feathered a feed to Jess Bonfe, who scored just 1:25 into the game.

Ten minutes later it was Mekenzie Steffen who found the magic needed to hit the back of the Eagles net for an unassisted effort at 11:45.

The Pioneers added to their lead in the second period when Jac Kaasa pushed the score to 3-0 with an unaided tally at 6:18 in the second period.

At 11:34 a feed from Kenzie Prater hit the blade of Kennedy Houge, who put the puck in the Eden Prairie net.

Just over a minute later, it became 5-0 when seventh-grader Haylee Blinkhorn sent a pass across to Lexi Klein. The junior winger wasted no time one-timing a bullet into the Eagles net at 12:49.

Despite the shots-on-goal favoring Hill-Murray by just one at 31-30, it was the Pioneers’ netkeeper, junior Leah Patrick, who prevailed to garner the shutout.

The Pioneers take on Lakeville South at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3, at Aldrich Arena.

Wally Wakefield can be reached at

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