Austin Packers girls’ hockey rolls by Mankato West 8-2 Saturday

The Austin Packers girls’ hockey team was looking to get back on the winning track on the road Saturday afternoon in Mankato at All Seasons Arena against the West Scarlets in the second game of a back-to-back after falling to a strong Luverne squad 7-3 at Riverside Arena Friday evening.  In the game you heard on AM 1480 KAUS, Kate Holtz tallied four goals, and the Packers set a high-water mark for goals scored in a game so far this season with eight in an 8-2 win.

Holtz opened the scoring at 1:33 of the first period when she took a centering feed from Izzy Heman from the left corner and chipped the puck softly over Scarlet goaltender Alayna Smith.  A.J. Barerra increased Austin’s lead to 2-0 with a goal at 10:03 with an assist to Camille Dunlap, and that goal set off a flurry of scoring as West’s Brooke Pockrandt cut the deficit to 2-1 with a goal at 11:17, but Holtz gave Austin a two-goal lead back with a tally only :20 later with an assist to Megan Schultz.  The Scarlets cut the deficit back to one goal at 3-2 with a goal from Lexi Reddy on the power play at 12:45, but Dunlap pushed Austin’s lead to 4-2 with an assist to Sara Wangen at 14:17, and Holtz completed the first period hat trick when she blasted a slap shot from just inside the West blue line :27 second later at 14:44 that beat Smith and gave the Packers a 5-2 lead at the end of a high-scoring first period.

Holtz scored her fourth goal of the game at 11:54 of the second period, with an assist to Schultz to push the Austin lead to 6-2, Kiah Rumsey took a centering feed from Wangen from the back boards at 15:25 and put her second shot past Smith to make the score 7-2 Packers, and Dunlap scored her second goal of the game only :12 later at 15:37 with an assist to Allie Davidson for the 8-2 final.

Eight different Packers registered at least one point in the game, while goaltender Kyia Radford-Garcia turned away 15 of the 17 shots she faced to earn the win in net, while Scarlets goalie Alayna Smith faced 33 shots and made 25 saves.

With the win, Austin is now 4-6 overall on the season and 2-4 in the Big 9 Conference.  The Packers kick off a four-game homestand spanning the Christmas holiday Tuesday night against Section 1A rival Waseca, with the varsity face-off at Riverside Arena at 7:00 p.m.