The Detroit Lakes girls hockey team knows it has a lot of lessons to learn this season. In Thursday’s 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls in the season opener at Kent Freeman Area, the Laker captains focused on the positives in a night that presented plenty of challenges.

“We kind of just told them to be ready for it,” senior Madison Olson said of preparing her teammates for their first varsity hockey game. “It’s a lot different than youth (hockey). These girls are a lot faster and have a lot harder shots. They can do things a lot better and faster than you can in youth. We just told them to be ready for the fast-paced game.”

Detroit Lakes has only a handful of players that have competed anywhere near the varsity level. Thursday night was filled with firsts as new Lakers took the ice for the first time this season.

“I was talking to my linemate, Ella Larson, and she got back from her first shift and was like, ‘wow, that was crazy,’” senior Emma Coley said. “It’s a lot different. She’s a seventh-grader that played U12s.”

Haley Stattleman takes a shot from the point in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Haley Stattleman takes a shot from the point in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

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The Otters put up big numbers in the first and second periods. Through 34 minutes, Fergus Falls led 15-0, with multi-goal games coming from Piper Andrews, Marilyn Karsina and Maddie Hulter.

Even in an overwhelming loss, the Lakers found a way to get their first goal of the season. Coley picked up a loose puck and beat Otters’ goaltender Jyrkas early in the third period. While it didn’t change the outcome of the game, it was a moment that Olson and Coley believe a young team can look to for confidence moving forward.

“It got stuck in (Olson’s) feet, and I picked it up and just shot it,” Coley said. “I had just got on the ice. You could definitely see an incline in our excitement.”

“We were kind of all down in the dumps at that point,” Olson said. “I think that helped us be more positive about this game. We just need to keep working on our positioning. That’s going to be the key for us.”

Hadley Justesen handles the puck in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Hadley Justesen handles the puck in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

Detroit Lakes junior Olivia Guck was put in a near-impossible situation. Due to the need for a goalie, she stepped up and put on the pads for the first time two weeks ago. On Thursday, she made 22 saves in her first-ever game between the pipes.

“She’s been playing for two weeks,” Coley said. “I know she’s getting a little frustrated, but we reassured her that it’s alright. She’s barely been playing. She did fine.”

“She’s had a few lessons in the net and had a few other goalies come talk to her,” Olson said. “Other than that, she just started playing goalie when the season started.”

The most significant adjustment for the new Lakers will be the speed of the game. Detroit Lakes started to look more comfortable and confident as time wore on.

Adisyn Strand takes a shot from the point in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Adisyn Strand takes a shot from the point in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

“It’s hard when you have an age range from seventh grade to 12th grade,” Olson said. “We have girls that skated but then took some years off. We have girls that have never skated with faster and more aggressive people like this.”

“Some of the new girls get a little frantic and lost,” Coley said. “We just have to remind them to stick to their positions. If you do your job, I will do mine. Sometimes we just need to relax and try not to do so much.”

FERGUS FALLS 5 10 1 - 16

DETROIT LAKES 0 0 1 - 1

SCORING- FIRST PERIOD- Fergus Falls - Marilyn Karsina (Rachel DeBrito, Hannah Johnson) 3:14; Fergus Falls- Maddie Hulter (Johnson, DeBrito) 7:04; Fergus Falls- Piper Andrews (unassisted) short handed, 10:13; Fergus Falls- Tyra Skjeret (Andrews, Jadyn Bye) 12:26; Fergus Falls- DeBrito (Karsina) 13:54; SECOND PERIOD- \u0009Fergus Falls- Andrews (Bye) 4:06; Fergus Falls- Skye Norgren (unassisted) 6:13; Fergus Falls- Desirae Maack (Karsina) 6:29; Fergus Falls- Gabby Brimhall (unassisted) short handed, 9:27; Fergus Falls- Brooke Zierden (unassisted) 9:46; Fergus Falls- Hope Goepferd (unassisted) 11:01; Fergus Falls- Karsina (Bye) 13:05; Fergus Falls- Bye (Zierden) 16:19; Fergus Falls- Hulter (Gabby Brimhall) 16:53; Fergus Falls- Ella Starlz (Hulter) 16:59; THIRD PERIOD- Detroit Lakes- Emma Coley (Madison Olson, Rhett Zima) 3:13; Fergus Falls- Talia Nelson (unassisted) 7:28; PENALTIES- Detroit Lakes 4 minutes on 2 infractions; Fergus Falls 4 minutes on 2 infractions; GOALTENDING- Detroit Lakes- Olivia Guck, L, 22 saves, 16 goals allowed; Fergus Falls- Ana Jyrkas, W, 4 saves, 1 goal allowed

Brynn Erickson keeps the puck from a Fergus Falls defender in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Brynn Erickson keeps the puck from a Fergus Falls defender in Detroit Lakes' 16-1 loss to Fergus Falls on Nov. 11, 2021 at Kent Freeman Arena. (Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune)