HASTINGS — If Tuesday night is any indication, get ready for a wild ride in the Suburban East Conference this season.
Four of the five conference games played were decided by one goal and three of those required an extra period to settle, with Stillwater’s 4-3 overtime loss at Hastings among them.
“There’s a lot of parity and it’s showing up right now,” Ponies coach Tony Scheid said.
In a game slowed by penalties throughout, neither team got into much of a rhythm, although Stillwater (0-1-0 SEC, 1-2-1) outshot the Raiders 41-28. The Raiders (1-0-0, 4-0-1) joined Cretin-Derham Hall (3-2 over Forest Lake) and Mounds View (4-3 over Park) in posting overtime victories while East Ridge slipped past White Bear Lake 1-0. Roseville had a slightly easier night while dispatching Woodbury 5-1.
Two of Stillwater’s three goals came on the power play as the Hastings was sent to the box nine times, but the Ponies were also undisciplined while being assessed eight penalties.
The Ponies killed off a 5-on-3 disadvantage at the end of regulation and early into the overtime period, but Kiki Radke delivered her second goal of the game at 2:20 over the extra period to provide the game-winner.
“It was a frustrating game,” Scheid said. “For us to take eight penalties, that’s not the right way to play the game. It’s so undisciplined and erratic, we had a hard time getting into the flow of the game and we never got rolling with our three lines the way we need to get rolling. It’s really a tough way to play hockey.”
Radke also scored six minutes into the game to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead before Sara Bustad scored on the power play for Stillwater to tie the game just seconds into the third period on assists by Dana Almquist and Katie Casto.
“Almquist made a nice pass to Bustad on the back door,” Scheid said. “She faked a shot and slid it across the ice, a really nice set up by Almquist.”
Natalie Simons for Hastings and Carlie Hart for Stillwater followed with power play goals before Sami Claussen gave the Raiders a 3-2 edge at 12:02 with a goal to go along with her three assists. Hannah Okerstrom answered for the Ponies just 24 seconds later to tie the game at 3-all.
“Okerstrom had an outstanding game again,” Scheid said. “She played extremely well and she’s really a bright spot right now. She brings a lot of energy and speed and is getting a lot of shots to the net.”
Almquist also played a strong game, the coach suggested.
“She may have blocked seven or eight shots herself,” Scheid said. “She is playing really strong defensively and is definitely our best shot blocker, which is kind of a selfless thing that is a big key to success is having those top-end players that are willing to block shots and do all the little things you need to do to win games.”
Allison Pasiuk finished with 24 saves in goal for the Ponies while Brooke Weber turned away 38 shots for Hastings.
“We just had too many missed opportunities,” Scheid said. “We’ve got to start scoring goals and finding the back of the net. We need to do a better job of finishing around the net.”
Stillwater 0 0 3 0 — 3
Hastings 1 0 2 1 — 4
First period — 1. Has, Kiki Radke (Natalie Simons, Sami Claussen) 6:17.
Second period — No scoring.
Third period — 1. St, Sara Bustad (Dana Almquist, Katie Casto) pp, :19; 2. Has, Simons (Claussen) pp, 4:33; 2. Carlie Hart (Bustad, Casto) pp, 7:55; 3. Claussen (Kit Ruedy) 12:02; 3. St, Hannah Okerstrom (unassisted) 12:26.
Overtime — 4. Has, Radke (Claussen) 2:20.
Penalties — St, 8-16:00; Has, 9-21:00.
Saves — St (Allison Pasiuk) 9-7-8-0—24; Has (Brooke Weber) 10-16-11-1—38.