The Hastings Raiders Girls Hockey team went into their section quarterfinal game with top seeded Apple Valley optimistic that they could get the win and make it out of the first round in Coach Jim Joseph’s first season. Unfortunately for the Raiders, the start was the complete opposite of what they pictured. On the very first shot of the game, Apple Valley scored just fifteen seconds in to go up 1-0, as the Raiders were shocked in the early going. But the Raiders were able to regroup, and kept it a 1-0 game after the first period. In the second, the Raiders continued to battle, but a stellar play from Apple Valley’s Makayla Moran at 12:43 put the Eagles up 2-0. But the Raiders showed no quit, needing two goals in the third to tie. On the power play, a beautiful play in front of the Apple Valley netminder set up Kylie Gruden for a goal from Makayla Berquist and Lauren Muhl. An exuberant celebration followed, and the Raiders had moved the pressure of the game onto Apple Valley, forcing the Eagles to try to end it. Hastings pressed hard, but Apple Valley would score in response, and then add an empty netter to inflate the score and make it a 4-1 final. Hastings played arguably one of their best games of the season, and Bree Balster was fantastic in net for the Raiders, stopping 34 out of 37 shots. The Raiders power play unit came through against an 85% penalty kill as well, with the Raiders power play coming in at 17%.
The mood after the game was somber but proud, as not only did Hastings ruffle the feathers of the one seed, but the Raiders enjoyed their time together and their season together in Coach Jim Joseph’s first season. The Raiders record of 9-17 is not indicative of their play this season, as Hastings had a difficult schedule created before Joseph was hired that included games against Gentry Academy, Fergus Falls, Hill-Murray, Detroit Lakes and Owatonna. KDWA thanks all the seniors for their contributions to the program over the last few years, and wishes them the best of luck in their future endeavors!