Zimmerman snapped a five-game losing streak with a 3-1 win over the Becker Bulldogs on Tuesday in Becker.
Camilla Johnson, Jamie Pensinger and Brooke Salo had the goals as the Thunder improved to 2-2 in the Granite Ridge and 2-5 overall.
“We have continued to show improvement each game,” said coach Jeff Downng. “It is great to be rewarded for the efforts with a victory.”
After a few foiled attempts for the Thunder, Johansson, a junior, broke into the scoring column in her varsity debut following knee surgery. The Bulldog keeper, Emily Wolff, denied a close-range blast from Brooke Salo but Johansson fielded the rebound at the top of the box and drilled the ball into the back of the net in the 34th minute.
Pensinger, junior, broke Wolff down with some nice foot skills in front of the goal to secure the second goal, in the 38th minute, for a 2-0 halftime lead.
Becker battled a strong wind in the first half and it was Zimmerman’s turn in the second half. Becker’s Mikki Berscheit scored on a long-range flatter in the 45th minute just above goalie Justine Charles’ reach. That goal ignited the Bulldogs and the intensity on the field elevated quickly.
Following several physical challenges on the ball, a free kick was awarded to Zimmerman about 30 yards out on the left wing. Salo, a sophomore, came forward to take the kick and ripped a ball over the defensive wall through the head wind and into the back-side netting.
With a 3-1 lead, the breathing room allowed Thunder defenders to lock down the Becker attack and give Charles more confidence to step out to turn away through balls aided by the wind.
The Thunder will host Little Falls on Thursday, 5 p.m., and section rival Eveleth-Gilbert on Saturday, 11:30 a.m.