GIRLS HOCKEY: Red Knights pull away from Roseau
ST. PAUL — Benilde-St. Margaret’s senior forward Kelly Pannek was Minnesota’s Ms. Soccer winner this fall.
On Thursday, she kicked Roseau to the consolation round of the Minnesota state Class AA girls hockey tournament.
Panneck tallied six points in the Red Knights’ 7-0 victory over Roseau at the Xcel Energy Center.
The University of Minnesota hockey commit scored three goals and added three assists.
Panneck is one of six Division I committed players on the Red Knights. Pannek and Caitlin Reilly (Penn State) are top 10 Ms. Hockey finalists, while Abigail Miller (Syracuse) is a top goalie finalist.
“They have so much firepower,” Roseau coach Steve Huglen said. “We have a hard time scoring goals against the higher level teams, so once you start to get behind the eight ball it’s tough.”
The game didn’t appear to be headed for a rout after one period. Roseau and Benilde-St. Margaret’s went through the first 17 minutes scoreless and the Rams were even in shots at five apiece.
“They’re physical and threw a hard forecheck on us,” Benilde-St. Margaret’s coach David Herbst said. “They came after us hard. We didn’t have any room. We were getting bumped around a lot. After the period, I told them we were carrying the puck too much as individuals. We had to start passing the puck. When we started passing the puck, things started to change for us.”
The turning point came with the Red Knights up 1-0 early in the second period. Roseau’s Josee Lundgren went on a clear breakaway, but her backhand attempt was stopped by Miller.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s countering possession resulted in a Pannek goal. Moments later, she scored again for a 3-0 lead. The Red Knights outshot Roseau 11-3 in the second period.
“That first period wasn’t what we wanted from our offensive standpoint,” Pannek said. “Once we got the first two, it opened the flood gates for us because we’re so talented offensively.”
The complexion of the game shifted quickly.
“Give credit to Josee for getting that breakaway; she just wasn’t able to put it away,” Huglen said. “Had she put it away, maybe the game changes.”
Instead, the Red Knights added one more in the second and three more in the third to pull away.
Benilde-St. Margaret’s, 26-2-1, will advance to play the winner of Lakeville North and Mounds View in today’s semifinal matchup at the Xcel at 8 p.m.
“I’m a little surprised it got away from us the way it did, but again, let’s give Benilde credit,” Huglen said. “(Pannek) is an excellent player and as good as advertised. They have a number of elite players who can snipe the puck.”
The Rams, 16-13, will play the loser of Lakeville North and Mounds View in a consolation semifinal today at noon at Ridder Arena in Minneapolis.