Facing a WIAA playoff game at Hayward this Thursday, the Western Wisconsin Stars had no interest in showing the Hurricanes anything they could use when the two teams met in the regular season finale at Hayward on Saturday, Feb. 10.
While the Stars were playing a vanilla-style attack, Hayward was on the attack, sticking with its top two lines through a 6-0 Hurricane victory.
The loss leaves the Stars with a 9-11-2 record at the end of the regular season. The Stars are the fifth seed in the WIAA sectional tournament bracket and Hayward is the fourth seed, giving Hayward the home game in this Thursday's playoff opener. The winner of Thursday's game will play at top-seeded Hudson at 7 p.m. next Tuesday.
Stars coach Bob Huerta used all four of his forward lines in Saturday's game, giving all the girls equal time in the essentially meaningless game. This led to times when Hayward had far more experienced players on the ice. The coaches also gave freshman goaltender Maezee Enger her first start at the varsity level. Hayward kept her busy. She faced 28 shots in 24 minutes of action. Caitlyn Erickson played the last 27 minutes, also making 24 saves.
With the younger players getting a regular rotation, there were some missed assignments. Huerta valued the younger girls getting more ice time than worrying about what the final score might be. And if this game leads to any overconfidence from Hayward, it may help the Stars' chances on Thursday.