As per the norm, the Austin Packers girls hockey team started out the winter sports season for Austin High School with a pair of Big 9 Conference matchups Saturday at Riverside Arena against Rochester John Marshall, and on the road Tuesday evening in Mankato against the East/Loyola Cougars. In the Saturday game, the Packers had a 2-1 lead in the first period but wound up falling to the Rockets 6-4. In Tuesday’s game, the Packers tried to rally back from a 4-1 first period deficit, but were felled by the same 6-4 score.
In Saturday’s game versus John Marshall, the Rockets took a 1-0 lead just 1:57 in, but Jordyn McCormack tallied a pair of goals, one at even strength at 2:25 and the other on the power play at 14:51 to put the Packers ahead 2-1. John Marshall’s Kinsey Torgrimson tied the game at 2 with a goal at 16:24, but the Packers Kate Holtz answered just :24 into the second period to put the Packers back in the lead 3-2. Greta Freed tallied goals only 1:59 apart a short time later at 1:26 and 1:45 to put JM back into the lead at 4-3, but Holtz scored her second goal of the game at 4:43 to tie the game at 4. Freed completed the hat trick just 1:02 later to put the Rockets back in front to stay at 5-4, and Alix Gary scored with just :30 left in the period for the final 6-4 tally.
Kyia Radford Garcia faced 35 shots between the pipes for the Packers and made 29 saves, while Rockets goaltender Anysia Heimer faced 38 shots and made 34 saves for the win.
At All Seasons Arena in Mankato Tuesday night, the host Cougars of East/Loyola jumped out to a 2-0 lead before Jordyn McCormack scored at 12:27 of the 1st period with an assist to Peyton Squire to cut the Cougar lead to 2-1. Sydney Kanstrup answered back for East with a pair of goals late in the period, the second with only :16 left to give the Cougars a 4-1 lead at the end of one.
The Packers came out early in the 2nd period with guns blazing as Isikiyah Hemann and A.J. Barrera scored a minute apart at 1:23 and 2:23 to cut the Cougar lead to 4-3, but goals by Saisha Dau and Kanstrup to complete the hat trick gave the Cougars a 6-3 lead after two. Samantha Krueger scored on the power play at 9:13 of the 3rd period with an assist to Sarah Wangen, but the Packers could get no closer.
Radford Garcia was again in goal for the Packers Tuesday night and made 30 saves in facing 36 shots. Hailey Baker faced 23 Packer shots between the pipes for East and made 19 saves for the win.
The Packers are back into action on Saturday as they travel to Red Wing to take on the Wingers in another Big 9 matchup, with faceoff at 7:15 p.m.