When it comes to roles in these types of things, Red Wing isn't used to playing the role of the favorite. With the state's leading scorer Nicole Schammel, and the number 2 seed in the tournament, the Wingers have shed their role of underdog. At least partially.
"We told the girls we're still underdogs," said head coach Scott Haley. "You just ruined it, thanks."
Regardless of status, the Wingers shed any nerves they may have had just 15 seconds into their quarterfinal game against Alexandria when Reagan Haley put Red Wing on the board. The first line has contributed to the team total of 65 first period goals during the regular season and while Alexandria tied the game four minutes later, Schammel went to work.
The junior who scored 69 regular season goals scored the first of three first period goals at 11:18 of the period. Less than five minutes later she had added two more and the Wingers held a commanding 4-1 lead.
"I just think that our line has to come out and play hard every game," said Schammel when asked if she felt like she was in for a big game. "I think that we've done a good job with that."
Slowing Schammel was the key to the Alexandria game plan. A plan that for the most part, head coach Andy Shriver felt his team executed.
"We started preparing a month ago," said Shriver. "We knew we were going to get drawn if we made it to state. We walked in after she scored three in the first period and looked at each other and said 'it's working' and it absolutely was. What a phenomenal player. The windows that she got were on a line change when our shadows that we assigned to her a month ago were in between shifts we lost track of her for a couple of seconds and literally, she found the puck and found the back of the net and scored."
The Cardinals found a spark in the second period as they scored a little over a minute in on a Shelby Iverson goal that cut the deficit in half 4-2. They continued to pressure and had a goal disallowed due to it being ruled as a kick into the net. In the period, the Cardinals outscored the Wingers 14-11, but thanks to another Schammel goal, Red Wing regained momentum and added a second tally for the 6-2 final score.
"I give them (Alexandria) a ton of credit, I thought they were a pretty solid club," said Haley. "Look at the shots, it was pretty balanced. It's kind of been the story with us this whole year, we win games by four or five goals and actually have a shot differential that's not that much."
The Wingers will advance to the semi-finals Friday morning where they will face the winner of Blake and Mound Westonka.