Emily Johnson helped keep BLF in the game with her 27 saves. BLF started the overtime on a power play thanks to a hooking call with 18 seconds remaining in the third.
They were then awarded another power play with 55 seconds remaining in overtime, but did not capitalize on either.
“One of the biggest things we talked about before we went out to start the overtime was making sure we outnumbered them on the puck,” BLF head coach Jack Freeman said. “Late in the game we had a power play where we did not outnumber them on the puck.
“I thought we did that for the most part. Had a couple of nice looks, but obviously you are looking for that goal late, and we fall a little short.”
Warroad outshot BLF 30-21 despite BLF jumping out to a 8-0 shot advantage to start the game.
“This is the game where I have had to face the most shots,” Johnson said. “In past games, I have not had as many shots. I was just blocking them trying to make good saves and three went in.”
Johnson said the pregame morning skate really helped her figure out the angles at which Warroad might attack her tonight.
“They were not going to shoot close up,” Johnson said. “They were going to shoot from a distance.”
Freeman acknowledged Johnson’s play in the net was a big reason why BLF had a chance to beat Class 1A’s No. 2 ranked Warroad.
“Emily Johnson played a good game for us tonight,” Freeman said. “She gave us a chance to win and that’s all you can ask for from your goaltender.
“That’s a high-powered offense and Warroad’s a quality team and they do a lot of things well. To Emily’s credit, she gave us a chance to win tonight and I’m really proud of her.”
BLF scored two goals in one minute to get them on the scoreboard in the first period.
Josie Kramer found the back of the net at the 6:01 mark to put BLF up 1-0. Then, at the 6:59 mark, Avery LeMieur scored on a two-on-one break. Taylor Larson got the assist as BLF held an early 2-0 lead.
“I really liked our start,” Freeman said. “We talked about how important a good start was coming off 10 days rest. We needed to make sure we came out strong and we did. Our habits were really good early and we kind of got away from that in the second period.”
Warroad got one back with a power-play goal by Sydney Phaneuf. The goal came with BLF getting an additional penalty, which they were able to kill.
Quick starts have been a staple for this BLF team. They’ve jumped out to three- and four-goal first period leads in prior games.
“We emphasize it and talk about it as a group,” Freeman said. “The kids talk about it and know it’s part of our team makeup, to get out to a good start. We just have to put the puzzle together.”
The second period started with more of the same. BLF put pressure on the Warroad defense and goalie. Peyton LeMieur scored a goal at the 11:51 mark making it 3-1 BLF.
Forty seconds later, Geno Hendrickson scored on a breakaway attempt to get the goal right back for Warroad.
That goal switched the momentum into Warroad’s favor, as Abbey Hardwick tied the game 3-3 with two minutes remaining in the second period.
Warroad ended up dominating in the shots on goal department 15-5 in the second.
Both teams exchanged great chances in the third. Warroad held a slim shot advantage of 7-5.
Warroad goalie Kendra Nordick notched 18 saves that included some key late saves in the third period and overtime.
It’s BLF’s first tie of the season. Moving forward, they will travel to North Wright County Thursday, Jan. 23.
“Big test Thursday, that’s a quality hockey team,” Freeman said. “We just have to put together three periods of hockey and if we can do that we will be in good shape.”
For more photos of the game between Brainerd/ Little Falls Girls Hockey and Warroad go to https://bit.ly/37hzwl2.
Warroad 1 2 0 0 — 3
Brainerd/LF 2 1 0 0 — 3
First period: Brd-Josie Kramer (Macy Peterson, Gabbie Smith) 6:01; Brd-Avery LeMieur (Taylor Larson) 6:59; W-Sydney Phaneuf (Geno Hendrickson, Hannah Corneliusen) PP 14:49
Second period: Brd-Peyton LeMieur (Lindsey Booth, Sophie Robinson) 11:51; W-Hendrickson (Karlie Meeker) 12:29; W-Abbey Hardwick (Sadie Neist) 14:56
Shots on goal: BLF 9-5-5-2 21, W 6-15-7-2 30
Goalies: BLF-Emily Johnson (27 saves); W-Kendra Nordick (18 saves)
Warriors 3, Warroad 3
Key: Fast start for the Warriors gave them a 2-0 cushion that they let slip away.
Overall: BLF 14-6-1, W 17-3-2.
Next: BLF at North Wright County 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 23.