With 13:02 left in the first period, Royals senior forward Kaitlynn Lloyd scored the first goal in the Royals 3-2 win over Sartell/Sauk Rapids. For the casual Royals hockey fan, it looked like just another goal. For others, the goal was much more special.
Paetyn Levis, junior forward, captain, and future Ohio State Buckeye, assisted on Lloyd’s goal, tallying up point No. 112 of her Royals career. The assist broke the tie between Levis and Emily Antony, putting Levis on top of the Royals all-time points list.
“Paetyn is a great player,” teammate Courtney Johnston said. “She knows how to put the puck in the net and always looks for the opportunity to pass to her line mates.”
Lloyd’s goal—assisted by Madi Chapman as well as Levis—was the only goal in the first period where Royals led 8-5 in shots on goal.
“I think we transitioned the puck better at neutral ice and controlled the neutral zone,” Levis said about what the team improved on in game No. 2 of the season. “Defensively, Hailey played great and we were more confident in our offensive zone.”
Rogers continued to control the puck in the offensive zone for much of the second period, unable to build off the first period lead. With 3:12 left in the second period, Sartell/Sauk Rapids defenseman Megan Cook knotted up the score and with just 19 seconds in the period, Molly Mahowald scored another goal to put the Storm’n Sabres up 2-1 after two periods. Royals players went into the locker room distraught about how the lead slipped away so suddenly.
The score stayed the same until 10:54 remained in the game. Ellie Feilen pushed the puck up to Chapman who then pushed it to Levis. From there, Levis moved quickly up the left side of the net, before putting on a quick move and sniping the puck into the back of the net to tie the score. Levis pointed back to coach Wesloh’s practice style that has allowed the team to continue to improve.
“Coach Wesloh always stresses that our practices need to be at game intensity,” Levis said. “We play a lot of small area games to strengthen our compete level. That way everyone is pushing each other to be better, making our whole team better.”
As the game wound down to the final minutes, members of the Royals wondered if the game would go to overtime for the second straight game to start the season. With 2:30 left in the game, Sartell/Sauk Rapids’ Bria Ferns was penalized for roughing, giving the Royals a player advantage for almost the entirety of the remaining time in the third period. Coach Wesloh called a timeout to talk things over with his team.
With a man advantage, Johnston and Co. continued to work the puck around the outside of the offensive zone, looking for an opportunity at an uncontested shot. With 1:10 left, Johnston released a shot that bounced off the opponent’s goalie, then off the stick of Levis to Sami Scherling who scored with just 1:05 remaining in the game, the eventual game-winning goal.
“We have all worked so hard and continue to grow as a team each and every year,” Johnston said. “We have some great underclassman that have moved up and that really helps to bring the intensity to practice and games.”
The team celebrated Levis’ milestone after the game with Coach Wesloh talking to her before releasing her to her Royals’ teammates that showered her with high fives and hugs.
“It is an honor to be a leader in building the tradition of Rogers hockey,” Levis said. “I love playing hockey with my best friends and I honestly couldn’t have done it without all my teammates and my coaches who have helped me along the way.”
The Royals are now 1-0-1 to start the year after a season opening tie against Robbinsdale-Armstrong. The Royals have another home game on Friday, Nov. 18, at 7 p.m. against Alexandria. The Cardinals are coming off a state tournament berth from a year ago where they lost in the first round of the Class-A tournament to St. Paul United.
Tag(s): Girls Varsity