Packers bump Mayo out of second

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Of all the steps the Austin High School girls hockey team has taken this season, the biggest one may have occurred Saturday night.

Tuesday, January 23, 2001

Of all the steps the Austin High School girls hockey team has taken this season, the biggest one may have occurred Saturday night.

Email newsletter signup

Facing a team that beat them 4-2 in their first meeting, the Packers scored two goals in each of the last two periods to defeat Big Nine Conference foe Rochester Mayo, 5-2.

AHS’ victory bumped Mayo out of second place in the conference race and installed the Packers into that lofty position.

"It’s right up there with when we won the Sections," head coach Denny Bray said. "It’s one for the record books and memories.

"Our goal at the beginning of the season was to finish in the top three. We’re thinking a little higher than that right now."

Austin advanced to 9-2 in the conference and 12-5 overall with the triumph.

Rhianna Jacobs got the puck moving for the Packers when she scored unassisted at 6:22 of the first period.

With the score only 1-0 after one, the second period was critical. Initially it appeared as though the Spartans realized that more than AHS.

With the puck lingering at the Packer end, it was inevitable. Mayo batted the puck around until Rebecca Markus slipped the puck under Kristina Swancutt’s glove. The score at 2:16 of the second tied the game, 1-1. Sarah Horlitz and Alex Zagaria recorded assists on the goal.

AHS battled back aggressively. At the end of a Packers’ power play, Bobee Jo Lang got a crossing pass from Jenny Nemitz at 5:47 and slapped it past Spartan goalie Kirsten Jensen, only a freshman. AHS was back on top, 2-1, and the Big Nine team would stay in that position.

Mayo tried to retaliated about a minute later with Alyssa Gabrielson getting right into the crease only to be turned away by Swancutt.

"Tom’s (Fedoryk) done wonders with Kristina," Bray said. "That’s why I brought him on board. I take my hat off to him."

"She’s stepped it up," Fedoryk said. "She has focus."

Swancutt registered 21 saves on the night and many of them critical. She made another good stick save at 8:37 of the period.

The Packers backed Swancutt offensively. At 11:43 of the second with AHS on a power play, a Packer shot bounced off Jensen’s stick and Melissa Dickhut was waiting at the side of the net to guide it home. The Packers led 3-1 after two periods.

Despite Mayo creating much of the action, the Packers came away with the only two goals of the period as they went for the long pass and were successful.

"That’s part of our scheme," Bray said. "You see us ice it a few times. That’s when we miss the wing. The momentum changed a little in the second period."

In the middle of the third, Mayo started to take the action to AHS more consistently. Swancutt made saves at 7:57 and 8:26 and slapped away a straight on shot at 9:41. The Spartans had an opportunity on that one with the left side of the net open, but the Rochester team could not poke it home.

Things really got serious for the Packers at 10:30 when AHS was down two players for 1:24.

"We were losing focus," Bray said. "We were doing dumb things. My biggest peeve is getting penalties on power plays."

Jacobs helped Austin dig out some from that whole when she forced Mayo into an interference as she poked the puck away from a Spartan and was headed for a breakaway.

Swancutt also aided the cause when she made a glove save on Zagaria’s slap shot at 11:46.

Finally, AHS got its act together offensively and went to work. Jacobs’ slap shot wasn’t controlled by Jensen and Lang found the open side of the net and backhanded it in. The score was at 12:13 of the third, giving the Packers a 4-1 lead. Dickhut and Jacobs assisted on the play.

At 13:11, the Spartans’ Jessica Nash’s cross from the left side hit the right post and ricocheted into the net. The assist went to Laura McConahey.

Only 22 seconds later, AHS demonstrated who was in charge when a host of Packers rushed the net. Jessica Peterson got the goal with an assist from Jacobs and Courtney Hughes at 13:33.

Tuesday, Austin goes on the road to play Lucerne.