By Nick Gerhardt
Ayla Puppe can change a game.
Teammates, coaches and Northfield fans have known that for a long time but she made Chisago Lakes aware Tuesday in a 6-2 victory where Puppe scored four times and assisted on a goal for a five-point night.
The Raiders (1-1) entered the season ranked No. 12 in Class 2A but suffered a 3-2 season-opening loss Saturday against Mound Westonka/Southwest Christian, which started the season ranked No. 9 in Class 1A.
Puppe scored twice on the power play, once at even strength and added an empty-net goal with two seconds left to cap an impressive night. Puppe, who finished with 70 points last season (39 goals, 31 assists), scored 3 minutes, 38 seconds into the game Tuesday against the Wildcats at Northfield Ice Arena on a rush during a power play for a 1-0 lead.
Chisago Lakes, which fell to South St. Paul in last year’s Section 4A title game, answered with a power-play goal at 4:22 of the first period when sophomore Nora Devries knocked in a rebound with senior sister Laine Devries picking up the assist.
The Raiders regained the lead 2-1 with a power-play goal, this time from junior Emerson Garlie with Puppe getting an assist.
Northfield padded the lead later in the period when Puppe scored her second goal of the game on the power play on a rush for a 3-1 lead. The Raiders ended the first period with a 10-4 shots on goal advantage.
Northfield muddled through a penalty-filled second period that saw the Wildcats climb to within a goal midway through the period when Laine Devries sniped home an unassisted goal to cut the Raiders lead to 3-2 at the 8:26 mark.
After five penalties in the period, Puppe netted her third goal on the game on a sharp-angle shot from the left circle on an assist from Izzy Stephes to put Northfield up 4-2 with 42 seconds remaining in the period. Both teams finished with five shots in the period.
The Raiders pulled ahead 5-2 when senior defender Lucy Boland scored on assists from Megan Snyder and Garlie when Chisago Lakes got caught making a line change. It led to an odd-man rush and a goal for Northfield.
Puppe capped the scoring with an empty-net goal with two seconds left to make it 6-2.
Sophomore Macy Mueller earned the win in goal for the Raiders, who will face Class 2A No. 8-ranked Blake (1-1) Saturday in Hopkins. The Bears lost their opener 6-2 to Gentry Academy but defeated Simley 5-1 Tuesday. Blake faces Class 2A No. 1 Andover Thursday in Hopkins.