Holtz’s four goals and assist lead Austin past Waseca 5-1 in Section 1A girls hockey semi-finals

In her last game as an Austin Packer at Riverside Arena, senior forward Kate Holtz made it a memorable one as she scored four goals, three of them shorthanded, plus she added an assist to help the lead the No. 2 seeded Packers past the third-seeded Waseca Bluejays 5-1 in the Section 1A girls’ hockey semi-finals.

Holtz scored the only goal of the first period, her 33rd of the season at 7:53 with an assist to Camille Dunlap when Dunlap banked the puck off the right wing boards at center ice, Holtz skated down the puck, drove to the net and lifted a backhander over Bluejay netminder Illamay Draheim to make the score 1-0.

Holtz then made the score 2-0 with her first shorthanded goal of the game at 10:11 of the second period when she picked up a loose puck just inside the Packer blue line, bolted up ice, around the defense and slid a backhander past Draheim.  Waseca took some momentum back at 16:12 of the period when forward Isabella  Slectha scored to cut Austin’s lead to 2-1, but Holtz tallied an all-important insurance goal at 5:41 of the third period when, with the Packers shorthanded, she received a pass from Izzy Hemann, worked her way past the defense and again lifted a backhand shot over Draheim to give Austin a 3-1 lead.  With Austin’s Cassidy Davidson off two minutes for tripping at 5:27, Holtz struck again for her third shorthanded tally of the game at 7:16 when she won a puck battle behind the Bluejay net, skated out low in the right faceoff circle and snapped a low wrister between the pads of Draheim to give Austin a 4-1 lead.  Holtz also had a hand in Austin’s fifth goal of the game when Mikiah Rumsey fed a pass from the right corner in the Waseca end to Holtz at the half boards.  She then fired a wrist shot toward the net that was tipped in by Camille Dunlap, her sixth goal of the season at 9:55 of the period for the 5-1 final.

Austin sophomore netminder Kyia Radford-Garcia turned away 18 of the 19 shots she faced to earn the win between the pipes, while Draheim kicked out 27 of the 32 shots she faced for Waseca.  The win for the Packers, their fifth in a row pushes their record to 15-10 on the season, and Austin returns to action in the Section 1A girls hockey final Thursday evening at Four Seasons Center in Owatonna against either top-seed Albert Lea or fourth-seeded Winona at 5:00 p.m.  You’ll hear the game live on AM 1480 KAUS, with the Austin Packers pre-game show on the air at 4:45 p.m., and face-off at 5:00 p.m.