WILLMAR — The Fergus Falls girls’ hockey team fell in a big hole in the first period and could not climb its way out as the hosting Willmar Cardinals skated away with a 6-4 victory Thursday.

The Cardinals would score four first-period goals to take an early lead. The Otters offense would wake up in the second as Maddie Hutler scored on a Jade Zierden pass. Willmar would push the lead to 5-1 with a Bailey Olson goal, but Fergus Falls responded with two additional goals in the period. Hulter would add her second of the game with an assist from Chloe Nelson and Piper Andrews snuck in a shot with a pass from Lexi McGary.

In the final period, the Otters cut the lead to one early as Nelson slipped in a goal with passes from Zierden and Ellie Andersen. Despite the rally, the Otters could not overcome the deficit as Willmar tallied one more goal before the final buzzer.

“You can’t spot a good team four goals in the first period and win,” Otters head coach Tim Lill said.

The Otters outshot the Cardinals 31-25, while goalie Ana Jyrkas turned away 19.

The Otter girls will look to get back on track as they welcome in Crookston in the nightcap of a boys/girls doubleheader at 4 :30 p.m. Saturday.

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