By Johann Schroeer
With only 3 games left in the regular season, Northfield head coach Paige Haley expressed how the Raiders (16-6, 9-1 in Big 9) were planning on treating Tuesday’s game against Dodge County (14-7-1) as a “dress rehearsal” for the upcoming section playoffs. The Raiders did just that. With the Wildcats in town, Northfield had a team which they knew a little bit less about, but knew their game plan. Haley emphasized the Wildcats being a very fundamental team, while the Raiders having more firepower. After a fairly uneventful first period in which Northfield outshot Dodge County 7-2, with their defense playing spectacularly, letting very little through neutral ice. But merely 9 seconds into the second period, Northfield Junior Emerson Garlie scored her 24th goal of the season unassisted, putting the Raiders up 1-0. Later in the second, on a Wildcat power play, Junior Ayla Puppe made a great move on the Dodge County goaltender, scoring a shorthanded goal, doubling the Raider lead. Dodge County answered right back, as forward Nora Carstensen scored just 30 seconds later, bringing the Wildcats within 1. In the third period, the Raiders continued their defensive dominance, forcing the Wildcats to ice the puck any time they needed a line change, giving Northfield a plethora of offensive opportunities. They converted, as Garlie scored her second goal of the game on a pass from Puppe, bringing the Raider lead to 3-1. The Raiders would close it out at that score, as Dodge County continued to get little offensive power. Northfield outshot Dodge County 27-13, and Garlie scored her 24th and 25th goals of the season, and Puppe with her 45th, keeping her spot as the 3rd leading goal scorer in the state of Minnesota. The Raiders look ahead to Saturday, where they will play rival Owatonna to end the regular season, in a game which could decide the Big 9 champion.