Wildcats transition to defensive team
In the past, the Dodge County Wildcats have been a team that has not lacked offensive firepower. With players like Dana Rasmussen (44 goals in 2014-15), Jacie Hoehn (eight goals) and Brede Postier (seven goals), it wasn’t uncommon for the Wildcats to engage in offensively fueled battles.
With 59 goals between those three seniors being lost to graduation, the Wildcats needed to adapt to a more defensive approach. The new mindset helped Dodge County pick up victories in two of their first three games to open the 2015-16 season.
“We can’t expect to win 7-5 games anymore,” Dodge County head coach Jeremy Gunderson explained. “We have to buckle down after all of what we lost offensively and try to keep these teams from scoring in order to be successful.”
The campaign kicked off with a trip to Red Wing on Tuesday that was evenly played throughout the first two periods. Molly Shelton would lead off the scoring with 10:22 in the first period with assists from Katie Robinson and Bella Wagner.
As the game transitioned to the second period, the Wildcats started to pack the box with penalties and Red Wing took advantage with a power play goal from Taylor Heise to tie it. Robinson would answer with an unassisted goal at 14:47, but another penalty would help the Wingers get even on the power play as Lexi Stewart scored at 16:41.
“We’re taking too many penalties,” Gunderson said of his team’s early performance. “Our kids need to take pride and not put ourselves in some of these situations. As coaches, we also have to communicate better and get our kids to buy in to what we’re doing.”
The Wildcats would clean things up in the third period as just one of their seven penalties occurred in the final frame. As a result, Ally Gunderson made her first varsity goal a game winner as she scored off an assist from Robinson to put Dodge County in front.
Teigan Petersen would finish off the Wingers with an empty net goal at 16:46 to give the Wildcats their first victory of the year.