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Laker girls' hockey shows flashes of offense vs. No. 7 ranked Otters

Laker freshman Callie Johnson (22) skates in on Fergus Falls goaltender Ari Hershner (30) during last Saturday's season opener at Kent Freeman Arena. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 2
Laker skaters Emily Payne (15), Callie Johnson (22), and Brianna Seebold (17) celebrate Johnson's third period goal Saturday against Fergus Falls. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 2

There were plenty of positive signs in the Detroit Lakes girls' hockey season opener Saturday inside Kent Freeman Arena.

One aspect, which wasn't too positive, was the end result -- a 10-4 loss to section foe Fergus Falls -- but the score can be overshadowed by the improved play of the Lakers, after a 6-20-1 season last year.

The Otters -- who have a good amount of players back off their Class 1A state consolation championship from 2008-09 -- displayed their potent scoring attack by taking a 5-1 lead after the first period.

But the Lakers -- who were not skating with one senior on the ice Saturday -- were able to regroup well in periods two and three, marking up three goals of their own and skating with the talented Otters team.

"We just mishandled the puck at critical times in the first period and Fergus Falls was able to put the puck in the net," said DL head coach Dan Maloney. "But I felt in the second period, our passing was better and we were able to play right with them."

The No. 7 ranked Otters outscored DL 3-2 in the second period, while adding two more tallies in the third to the Lakers' one.

But the Lakers were able to create respectable pressure on Otter goalie Ari Hershner for 29 shots on goal, compared to Fergus Falls' 37 on DL goalie Veronica Roy.

"I was satisfied with the team's effort and they showed our offensive attack is coming around," Maloney said.

Freshman Callie Johnson is off to a hot start for the Lakers after opening the season with a natural hat trick, with three consecutive goals in the second and third periods.

Sophomore Brianna Seebold also shot out of the gates well, connecting up with Johnson on all three of her goals with assists, and finishing the game with a total of four assists.

Freshman Emily Payne scored DL's first goal in the first period to cut an Otter 2-0 lead in half at the 5:19 mark, with Seebold and Johnson aiding on the scoring series.

"Callie and Brin (Seebold) are each coming off a good season last year, and they are capitalizing on their scoring opportunities," Maloney said.

Another young contributor was Roy, who finished with 29 saves. She was able to snuff out several breakaway opportunities by the Otters and looked more confident between the pipes.

"Veronica had some good saves, the first period, we just turned the puck over and left her empty handed," Maloney said.

Fergus Falls got off 12 shots on net in the first period, scoring five, while Roy had 10 saves in each of the second and third periods.

"Veronica has matured into a better goaltender and she has been focusing on getting the puck covered up and minimizing the rebound opportunities," the DL coach added.

Fergus Falls had eight different players score, with forward May Swiontek getting two.

The Lakers' short bench forced Maloney to run just two lines for most of the game.

The Lakers played on the road against Little Falls/Brainerd Tuesday, and will host Alexandria Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Sartell Saturday at 4:30 p.m.

Laker results

Fergus Falls at Detroit Lakes, Saturday, Nov. 14.

Otters 5 3 2 - 10

Lakers 1 2 1 - 4

First period -- 1. FF, L. Underwood (T. Vatnsdahl) 14:48; 2. FF, Swiontek (L. Link) 4:56; 3. DL, E. Payne (C. Johnson, B. Seebold) 5:19; 4. FF, Swiontek (UA) 6:15; 5. J. Swenson (K. Anderson) 8:24; 6. FF, PP S. Miller (Swenson, R. Styve) 11:23.

Second period -- 7. FF, C. Masten (Link) 1:31; 8. DL, C. Johnson (Seebold) 2:00; 9. FF, Link (Johnson) 7:35; 10. DL, C. Johnson (Seebold) 8:29; 11. FF, Johnson (Vatnsdahl) 14:25.

Third period -- 12. FF, A. Magnusson (Underwood, Vatnsdahl) 3:26; 13. DL, C. Johnson (Seebold) 3:41; 14. FF, PP Miller (Magnusson) 15:50.

Saves -- DL (Veronica Roy) 7 10 10 - 27...FF (Ari Hershner) 7 12 6 - 25.