by Bruce Strand, Sports editor
Five tie games. That’s the final count for the Elk River-Zimmerman girls as they deadlocked 0-0 with Andover to close the conference season at home Saturday evening.
“Two good goalies, and nobody could score,” was Elk coach Joe Heasley’s simple summation, referring to Andover’s Maddie Rooney (38 saves) and the Elks’ Michaela Gould (26 saves).
As ties go, this one was fairly encouraging, because the Elks lost to the Huskies 5-2 in December, when they gave up three power play goals and another just after a power play.
“We did a better job staying out of the box this time, and killed the two penalties we did have,” said Heasley. “And we are a better team than we were back in December.”
Andover (14-9-2) and ERZ (12-8-5) could meet again, in Section 7AA, as they are likely to get the top two seeds. The Elks were 3-0 against the northern teams in the section. The Elks will open Thursday, likely with a home game.
In the Northwest Suburban Conference, the Elks finished 7-6-5 for fifth place among 10 teams. Blaine was champion.
In the Elks’ first scoreless tie, they “had their chances but couldn’t capitalize,” said Heasley. The Elks missed on two breakaways, and were unable to launch a shot on a pair of two-on-one’s. By the third period and overtime, they were shooting from near the blue line frequently, rather than try penetrate the Huskies’ defense.
The Elks were winless in the last three games, all close — a 2-2 tie with ninth-place Coon Rapids, a 5-4 loss to Maple Grove on a goal with 1.7 seconds left, and then Andover.
“The important thing is that we played well tonight and we’re going into the playoffs playing well,” said Heasley.
Kaylee Forster, one of three seniors honored on Senior Night (along with Emily Heid and Mandy Sailor), agreed.
“I think we are ready to go,” she said. “I feel like we’ve been getting a lot better and playing a lot harder.”
Final NWSC standings
Maple Grove 14-2-2
Elk River-Zimmerman 7-6-5
Champlin Park 7-11-0
Coon Rapids 2-12-3
North Metro 0-17-0