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Even as losses mounted for White Bear Lake's girls' hockey team this season, junior goaltender Angie Hall stayed strong.
Hall is a third-year starter and captain, and her persistence paid off Tuesday as the Bears upset No. 2-ranked and previously undefeated Mounds View 2-1 at the Ramsey County Arena within the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine.
Outshot 31-14, the Bears clung to Hall's steady play.
"It starts with our goalie," White Bear Lake coach Jerry Kwapick said. "She's been phenomenal for us all year long."
Tuesday's victory was only the fifth for White Bear Lake. The team won at least 17 games the previous two seasons. But an inexperienced lineup has struggled.
"We've always been more of a top-end team, and this year we're learning because we've got a lot of younger girls," Hall said. "I just want to pick them up."
Despite a record of 5-13-4, Hall came into Tuesday's game boasting a saves percentage of .920. She reveled in playing with a surprise early lead.
White Bear Lake took a 2-0 first-period lead. Freshman forward Jeanette Bealke opened the scoring when she eased a puck toward the net and Mustangs goalie Mary Dingman, who misplayed and allowed it to slip under her pads.
There was no doubting the Bears' second goal. Taking aim from the blue line, senior defenseman Danyelle Tracy blasted home a power-play goal for a 2-0 Bears lead.
On the Mustangs' ensuing rush, Kathryn Larson hit the crossbar. Frustration mounted in the second period as Mounds View applied pressure on two power plays but could not beat Hall.
"Our power play has been our catalyst all year," Mounds View co-head coach Aaron Moberg said. "The puck just didn't go our way tonight. We had chances, but their goalie made key saves."
The Mustangs (21-1-1) broke through with a little more than three minutes remaining as Lauren Klein tipped in a shot by Elli Marvin, cutting White Bear Lake's lead to 2-1.
But the Bears held on, despite taking a penalty with a little less than two minutes left and Mounds View pulling its goalie for a two-man advantage. White Bear Lake gave the Mustangs a blemish with a tie in December. Tuesday the Bears finished the job.
"This win gives us confidence and gets us ready for the playoffs," Hall said.