A years-long effort by hockey supporters in Pine City to build a varsity girls team became a reality as the Pine City/Mora/Rush City Dragon girls varsity team took to the ice for their first game at the Pine City Civic Center.
They showed that they are already a power on the rink, as they dominated the Prairie Centre Blue Devils in an 8-1 victory on Jan 15.
“It was an emotional game for everyone,” said Coach Bill Aagaard. “The lady Dragons were nervous and excited prior to the game, but once they hit the ice they were flying. We had great community support as fans lined up outside and cheered the team on as they entered the civic center. The coaches talked to the players about having fun and enjoying the day and atmosphere. We talked to them about earning this day in respect to the female hockey players from Pine City that played for other co-ops and had to travel for practices and games. We talked to them about honoring the youth hockey players that are looking up to them.”
Aagaard noted that three lines and the Dragon defense all put points on the board. And each member of the co-op had a claim to fame as well. The first goal was scored by Pine City’s Malia Mikyska, the second goal by Mora’s Jennie Szucs, and the third goal by Rush City’s Emma Kirby.
The Dragon defense was as effective as the offense was dangerous, and Aagaard noted that the Dragons outshot tthe Blue Devils 49-17 in the game.
“Our senior captain goalie, Jordan Millam, had a great game,” he said.
The Dragon coaches, players, families and supporters all went into the game with a sense of the history that led to this moment, and the fact that the result was an impressive victory made this first night of Dragon girls varsity hockey all the sweeter.
“I would like to say thanks to the Rush City, Mora and Pine City schools for allowing this co-op to happen,” Aagaard said. “I would also like to say thank you to the community for their support and to all the efforts of those involved that afforded these ladies this opportunity.”
After their first game of the season, the Dragons won again on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 3-1 against Princeton, followed by a loss 1-4 to Northern Tier Jan. 21.
The Pine City/Mora/Rush City Dragons faced Proctor/Hermantown Jan. 26 in Pine City (score not known by press time. Up next, the dragons play Cloquet-Esko-Carlton at 2 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Cloquet Area Recreation Center.