With 2:09 left in the third period, Ella Achterkirch had an opportunity many players don’t see, especially in their first varsity game.
There she stood, all alone with the puck in front of the net and no goalie to stop her. Robbinsdale Armstrong/Cooper goalie Harnett blocked a shot from the opposite side of the goal, deflecting it right to Achterkirch who was able to control her nerves and put the puck in the back of the net to give her team a 2-1 lead. Her teammates surrounded her with congratulations and for the first time, the ninth grader led her team as they went to high-five the bench.
Unfortunately for the Royals, the team’s lead only lasted ten seconds.
The Royals and Armstrong/Cooper tied 2-2 on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams. A/C got on the board first, scoring with a goal with 9:50 left in the first period. The score stayed that way for just over five minutes before Paetyn Levis tied the game for the Royals, receiving an assist from teammates Marie Reimer and Kaitlynn Lloyd.
The first period ended tied, with the Royals outshooting their opponent 12-3. The second period went scoreless, but the Royals continued to keep the puck in the offensive zone, outshooting A/C 16-3 in the second period to take a 28-6 lead in shots through two periods.
Period No. 3 was much of the same for much of the period until Achterkirch’s goal with 2:09 remaining in the game gave Rogers the lead. The Royals were outshooting A/C 9-3 on their way to a season opener victory before A/C forward Leah O’Brien jumped out on the faceoff and tied the game back up with just 1:59 remaining.
The two teams went into the overtime period with the Royals team devastated that after taking 35 shots to A/C’s eight, that there was still a chance they could lose the game.
Levis and the Royals came out firing in the overtime period, racking up seven shots including one in front of the net that clipped the post with just under a minute remaining. On the defensive end, Royals freshman goalie Hailey Hartlage made six huge saves in overtime to keep the score tied as the clock slowly ticked to zero.
The Royals (0-0-1) play in their home opener on Nov. 15 against Sartell/Sauk Rapids who will be playing their first game of the season.