February 1, 2023 at 5:16 p.m.
Prairie Centre takes down Detroit Lakes, Princeton
Belief is a powerful tool.
The Prairie Centre Blue Devils have found another gear in the final week of January, firing off their first winning streak of the season. This impressive run continued with possibly the team’s most impressive victory yet, a 6-0 win over Mid-State rival Detroit Lakes Jan. 28 at Todd County Expo Arena in Long Prairie.
“These girls are truly believing in themselves that they have it in them,” said David Wright, head coach. “They’re proving that to themselves. Their confidence is going through the roof here.”
The Blue Devils’ largest victory by scoring margin was kickstarted by a tone-setting first period, in which Prairie Centre scored four goals against Detroit Lakes’ backup goaltender, leading to the Lakers ushering their regular goalie back into the net. Natasha Ludwig scored of a pair of goals, supplemented by scores from Allie Lemke and Maddie Koltes, all in four minutes.
“It definitely brings a lot of excitement and positivity to the bench when we’re scoring that many goals,” Wright said. “It brings a fun atmosphere to the rink.”
Even when the hosts were not scoring, the pressure was on the Lakers to slow down Prairie Centre’s increasingly-effective offense. Through consistent zone entries, decisive passing and quick skating, the Blue Devils often won races to the puck and garnered long-winding possessions in the Detroit Lakes zone.
“We’ve been working more and more on the offensive zone, because that’s where we want to play and have been playing,” Wright said.
The Lakers fired 46 shots on goal, including 21 in the third period, but the Blue Devils found higher-quality scoring chances and made the most of them. Kyra and Allie Lemke added goals in the third period to send Prairie Centre to a 6-12 record on the season and their third win in a row.
Not to be forgotten in the well-rounded home outing was the stonewall showing from Blue Devils goalie Kennedy Lemke, who wrapped up her second consecutive shutout.
“She has seen 111 shots (during the three-game winning streak) and she’s turned away 109 of them,” Wright said.
The Blue Devils will try and continue their resounding success against Breckenridge-Wahpeton at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2, at Todd County Expo Arena in Long Prairie.
DL 0 0 0 0
PC 4 0 2 6
First period: 1. Ludwig (Koltes) 11:11. 2. Allie Lemke 12:12. 3. Ludwig (Dalelyn Diedrich) 13:14. 4. Koltes 14:13. Third period: 5. Swanson 4:22. 6. Allie Lemke (Swanson) 15:54. Goalie: Kennedy
Prairie Centre 1,
Allie Lemke’s impact has been felt on the offensive side of the rink all season long for the Blue Devils, but against the Princeton Tigers Jan. 27, her impact as a scorer was as vital as it has ever been.
With the teams deadlocked at 0-0 in overtime, the talented upperclassmen found the back of the net 2:06 into extra time, giving Prairie Centre their first winning streak of the season in a well-earned 1-0 triumph at Princeton Youth Hockey Arena in Princeton.
“The girls just outworked Princeton,” Wright said. “They never gave up, and that was definitely the difference.”
While Princeton entered play with a single win, their strength of schedule appeared daunting, and against one shared common opponent, Morris/Benson Area, the Tigers dominated in an 8-0 victory. However, the Blue Devils sharpened up as the game progressed, going from allowing 16 shots in the first period to only six total in the third period and overtime combined. Kennedy Lemke denied every Princeton shot attempt regardless, making 34 saves.
“It was one of the most fun games I’ve been involved in since my playing career 35 years ago,” Wright said.
PC 0 0 0 1 1
PRIN 0 0 0 0 0
Overtime: 1. Allie Lemke (Arianna Lopez) 2:06. Goalie: Kennedy Lemke 34-34.