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Rebels advance with shutout at home

Moose Lake Area and Hibbing/Chisholm split during the regular season in girls hockey. On Tuesday night the Rebels left little doubt they were the better team as they bounced the Bluejackets out of the Section 7A playoffs with a 4-0 win in Moose Lake.

“This was a big win for our girls,” said Rebels head coach Reilly Fawcett. “They ended our season last year and this was a revenge-type game for us.”

The Rebels held a slight 9-6 shot advantage in the first period, but Megan Hattenberger made sure they came out of the period leading 1-0, slamming home her ninth goal of the season with assists going to Mackenzie Hoffman and Katie Metzer. The goal was scored during a scrum in front of Hibbing/Chisholm goalie Grace McDowell.

“That was a big goal for our girls to kind of relax and settle in,” Fawcett said. “Getting that lead was important for the team.”

Early in the first period, the Rebels got a couple of key saves from goalie Mallory Hartl. The second save marked her 2,000th career save in the nets.

“She is really our backbone of the team,” said Fawcett. “Mallory has been able to keep us in many of those tight games we’ve had and gave us a chance to win.”

MLA took a 2-0 lead 4 minutes, 7 seconds into the second period when Sandra Ribich picked up her 12th goal of the year on the power play with Gracie Hartl notching the only assist.

“We worked on that yesterday, because we’ve struggled with the power play this season,” Fawcett said. “We knew we had to be better … and to score just 5 seconds into the power play was big for us.”

Earlier this season the Rebels held a similar 2-0 lead entering the third period against the Bluejackets, only to lose the lead and eventually the game by a 4-3 score. On Tuesday night they pounced on the Bluejackets, scoring two quick goals at the start of the third period to salt the game away. The first goal was scored by Hallie Klavu, her 13th of the season, at 1:19 with Jorja Jusczak and Ribich getting the assists. The second goal of the period was scored at 3:26 by Hartl with an assist to Klavu.

“We talked between periods about not letting up and about playing the full game,” Fawcett said. “We wanted to put the pedal down and not let them have any idea of a chance of coming back and the girls did just that.”

For the game, Mallory Hartl finished with an impressive 29 saves on 29 shots to get the shutout, while the Rebels put 32 shots on the Hibbing/Chisholm net.

“As we’ve gotten ready for the playoffs we are just focusing on what we do and what we can control,” said Fawcett. “It doesn’t matter who we play on Saturday in Cloquet because we need to worry about what we do and we’ll be fine.”

The Rebels will play Duluth Marshall at 4 p.m. Saturday in Cloquet at Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet.