Senior defenseman Lauren Norgren’s hat trick helped No. 3-seeded Fergus Falls top second-seeded Northern Lakes in the Section 6A semifinals 5-2 on Tuesday, Feb. 11, at Breezy Point Arena.
The Lightning finished 11-14 overall while the Otters advanced to the section championship where they were edged by top-seeded Alexandria 4-1 on Friday, Feb. 14.
Fergus Falls led 2-0 after the first period on goals by Alex McKinnell and Abby Hobbs. They extended the lead to 4-0 on a pair of goals by Norgren in a span of 3:41 midway through the middle period. The Lightning scored at 13:05 of the period when Lexi Danielson tallied, assisted by Hannah Zimmerman and Carly Fyle.
Northern Lakes increased its offensive pressure late in the second period and early in the third session but failed to score.
“The girls were really excited to be seeded second for this game, so we had high expectations,” said Lightning coach Kristen Harsha. “We came ready to play and outplayed (Fergus Falls) for the first half of the first period. Fergus Falls turned the game around with two quick goals, and then we were battling from behind. We sparked some momentum going into the third period, but little too late.”
The Otters then extended the lead to 5-1 in the third period when Norgren completed her hat trick with 2:46 remaining. Northern Lakes finished the scoring when Courtney Kittock tallied after taking a centering pass from Sam Gutzman with 1:19 left.
“We felt that we had a good chance of winning as second seeds,” said Kittock, a senior captain. “(Fergus Falls) came out and scored twice, but we stuck with them and didn’t give up. I think we were nervous early, but we calmed down and played better as the game went on.”
Madison Galligan made 34 saves for the Lightning while winning goaltender Katie Shelstad stopped 25 shots.
Fergus Falls 2 2 1 — 5
Northern Lakes 0 1 1 — 2
First period: FF-Alex McKinnell (Annika Ohman, Annie Magnusson) 4:41; FF-Abby Hobbs (Ashley Vaughn, Lydia Mann) 12:05
Second period: FF-Lauren Norgren 6:17; FF-Norgren 9:58; NL Lexi Danielson (Hannah Zimmerman, Carly Fyle) 13:05
Third period: FF-Norgren 14:14; NL-Courtney Kittock (Sam Gutzman) 15:41
Shots on goal: NL 27, FF 39
Goalies: NL-Madison Galligan (34 saves); FF-Katie Shelstad (25 saves)