By Jason Groth
The Grand Rapids-Greenway Lightning season came to a close on Saturday at the hands of the Elk River-Zimmerman Elks, 5-0, in the Section 7AA semifinals in Elk River.
The Elks benefited from a dominant first period as they scored four first period goals and never looked back in the win.
Breanna Simon recorded five points in the game as she played apart in every goal in the win for the Elks.
The Elks started the scoring barrage early in the first period when Abbie Canton slid a puck through the crease and past Shannon Hart to make it 1-0. Simon had the lone assist on the goal.
The Elks wasted little time as Canton tallied her second goal shortly after with Emily Heid and Simon assisting on the goal.
The Elks continued to pressure and control play for the most part in the first period. Their forecheck was suffocating as the Lightning struggled to break the puck out of their own end.
That pressure led to the game’s third goal as Heid found the back of the net with Canton and Simon assisting on the goal.
A Lightning penalty proved costly late in the first period as the Elks capitalized once again to make it 4-0. McKenna Wesloh fired a shot under the crossbar from the right circle. Simon and Kaylee Forster added an assist.
Simon put the finishing touches on the game with a goal in the third period to help push her Elks into the Section 7AA Championship. Michaela Gould recorded her second shut out against the Lightning by stopping 17 shots. Hart finished the game with 28 saves on 33 shots.
The Lightning advanced with a thrilling double overtime victory over Cloquet-Esko-Carlton on Thursday night, 3-2, at the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids. Jordan McLaughlin tallied all three goals in the game in helping the Lightning to the win.
McLaughlin tallied in the first period with Madison Illikainen assisting on the goal which made it 1-0. McLaughlin then sent a shot past Lumberjack goalie Stacy Nelson to make it 2-0. Maddi Peart assisted on that goal.
The Lumberjacks came back with a goal by Kaitlyn Miller in the second period to make it 2-1. Cassandra Inman assisted on the goal. Inman tied the game in the third period with Kailey Buhr assisting on the game-tying goal.
The Lightning dominated play in the first overtime but were unable to solve Nelson. However, they broke through in the second overtime. Savanna Holum fired a low shot and the rebound came free in which McLaughlin buried into the open net to send the Lightning to the semifinals.
Hart finished the game with 17 saves on 19 shots while Nelson stopped 42 of 45 shots in the loss.
The Lightning finish out the season with a 15-10-3 record overall and will look to fill the void from the graduation of five seniors next season.