CLOQUET — The Stillwater girls’ hockey team hit the road in a big way to kick off the reason and returned home with a 5-0 nonconference victory over Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Saturday at the Cloquet Area Rec Center.
Stillwater’s adventure started with a trip to Roseau on Friday for scrimmages against the Rams and Warroad. A snowstorm delayed the team’s arrival in Cloquet until after 1 a.m., Saturday morning, but the Ponies were crisp while pulling out a victory in their season opener.
“It took eight hours to get from Roseau to Cloquet so we let the kids sleep in and I thought they responded really well to that,” Stillwater coach Tony Scheid said. “We are trying to establish a work ethic and we were happy with how hard the team played.”
Taylor Naugle scored less than four minutes into the game on an assist by Emily Wiegand and Sierra Smith scored at 10:04 to build a 2-0 lead for the Ponies in the opening period.
Stillwater outshot the Lumberjacks 22-8 in the first two periods, but didn’t strike again until Ali Biagini scored the first of her two goals six minutes into the third period for a 3-0 lead. Biagini struck again less than three minutes later for a four-goal cushion and Carlie Hart added a short-handed tally with less than two minutes remaining.
“There was some good interactions and Naugle and Biagini have some good chemistry going,” Scheid said. “Getting that senior leadership right away was great. I thought (Jane) Vezina and Smith had a good night, also. They were very strong on the puck and working really well together.”
Brianna Hersom notched the shutout with 14 saves for the Ponies.
“Team defense wise we did a good job,” Scheid said. “Everybody was coming back hard and we had good defense and didn’t allow many shots. It was a really good start and I thought Hersom looked really sharp. She had a few quality scoring opportunities where she tracked the puck really well.”
The Ponies, meanwhile, peppered C-E-C’s Stacy Nelson with 34 shots on goal.
“We feel like we had three lines coming at them and there was no drop off,” Scheid said. “This team right now has three really good lines. I just think this team is built to score a lot of goals and is real tough defensively.”
n Also on Saturday, the Stillwater JV team turned in a 2-0 victory over the Lumberjacks.
Stillwater 2 0 3 — 5
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 0 0 0 — 0
First period — 1. St, Taylor Naugle (Emily Wiegand) 3:46; 2. St, Sierra Smith (Jane Vezina) 10:04.
Second period — No scoring.
Third period — 3. St, Ali Biagini (Wiegand, Olivia Arkell) 5:52; 4. St, Biagini (Taylor Naugle) 8:25; 5. Carlie Hart (Olivia Konigson, Brinna Dochniak) sh, 15:26,
Penalties — St, 3-6:00; C-E-C, 5-10:00.
Saves — St (Brianna Hersom) 3-5-6—14; C-E-C (Stacy Nelson) 10-10-9—29.