Only once this season had the East Grand Forks Senior High girls hockey team been held to fewer than 30 shots on goal -- until Saturday.
Fergus Falls, behind a strong defense and an ability to control the puck in its offensive end, handed the host Green Wave a 3-1 setback.
Fergus Falls held a 25-13 advantage in shots on goal. The only other team to hold the Wave to less than 30 shots on goal was Class A state power Warroad.
“We didn’t get the shots off that we normally do,’’ Senior High coach Brian Larson said. “They did a good job of controlling the puck. It’s hard to get shots when you can’t get the puck out of your own end. And they were physically stronger than we were.’’
Larson said the Otters were able to control the puck primarily because of their top line of Maddie Hulter centering Jade Zierden and Ellie Andersen. “That’s a very talented line,’’ Larson said. “They had the puck most of the time and we were chasing them.’’
Andersen gave the Otters a 1-0 lead just 1:22 into the game when she scored on a shot from the slot.
Fergus Falls increased its lead with goals by Lexi McGary on the power play in the second period and Jadyn Bye in the third.
“Ellie was in the right spot at the right time,’’ Fergus Falls coach Tim Lill said. “She came down the slot and got a shot off before the goalie had time to react. The other goals were just fighting for the puck down where it was pretty physical.’’
Lexi Metcalf had 12 saves in goal for the Otters. The eighth-grader lost her shutout when Wave freshman Kate Johnson put a shot off her glove and into the net with 8:28 remaining. “We seem to give up about one of those a game,’’ Lill said.
Said Larson: “We needed to do a better job of getting the puck on the net. That (goal) was a case in point. Put the shot on net and you never know what can happen. Kate creates things for us.’’
Metcalf and fellow eighth-grader Ana Jyrkas have shared time in goal for Fergus Falls.
“We try to keep everything to the outside with our defense,’’ Lill said. “To be 13 years old and 85 pounds like our goalies, that can make it tough.
“I wouldn’t say we’ve been really strong defensively. That’s as well as we’ve played all year. That’s as physical as we’ve played all year.’’
Ellie McDonald had 22 saves in goal for Senior High.