RIVER FALLS, Wis. — It took just 11 seconds for the St. Croix Valley Fusion girls’ hockey team to score its first goal of the season Thursday, Dec. 17, against Hayward.
The Fusion went on to win that game 2-0, but came out of the week with a record of 1-2 after dropping back-to-back games to the two-time defending state champion and No. 1-ranked Fox Cities Stars Friday and Saturday.
The final score of Thursday’s opener against Hayward was deceiving as the Fusion outshot the Hurricanes 35-14. Juneau Paulson accounted for both St. Croix Valley goals — 11 seconds into the first period and at the 6:30 mark of the third — with assists from Trinity Mittl on both. Olivia Dumond earned the shutout in net.
“The girls worked super hard and never took their foot off the gas,” Fusion coach Matt Cranston said. “Our intense forechecking and hustle kept Hayward on their heels the whole game.”
The Fusion ended up playing Fox Cities twice over the weekend after the Stars’ game scheduled for Friday night in Hudson was canceled. And Cranston said he knew the Fusion had their work cut out for them in both games.
“They are a big co-op in the Appleton area with lots and lots of skill,” Cranston noted. “Again, the girls worked super hard and gave it 100 percent. The coaching staff was pleased with their effort but just couldn’t come up with enough goals to beat them.”
St. Croix Valley led 1-0 Friday night after Makenzie Weiss scored 3:33 into the game with assists from Tyann Mittl and Bella Rasmuson. But Fox Cities scored the next five goals to open up a 5-1 lead at the end of the second period.
Jenna Bergmanis made it a 5-2 game with a power-play goal at the 5:02 mark of the third period but Fox Cities got it right back with a goal 18 seconds later. Tyann Mittl’s unassisted goal with under five minutes remaining made the final 6-2.
Dumond finished with 13 saves as the Fusion outshot the Stars 24-19.
Saturday afternoon Jaden Woiwode’s goal at the 8:59 mark of the first period cut a two-goal Stars’ lead in half but Fox Cities widened the gap to 4-1 before Paulson scored the only goal of the third period, unassisted, to make the final 4-2. Paulson also earned an assist on the goal by Woiwode.
Dumond made 33 saves as the Stars outshot the Fusion 37-33.
The Fusion will face off against the Western Wisconsin Stars on Monday, Dec. 28, in Baldwin before visiting Hudson on Tuesday, Dec. 29.
Western Wisconsin Stars win 2 of 3
The fourth-ranked Western Wisconsin Stars suffered their first loss of the season last week, sandwiched around a pair of wins, to leave them with a record of 6-1 heading into Monday night’s game against St. Croix Valley.
The Stars topped Hayward 5-2 Tuesday, Dec. 15, for the fifth-straight victory before losing for the first time this year, 2-1, at No. 3-ranked Eau Claire/Altoona. They bounced back with an 11-0 thrashing of winless Medford Saturday afternoon at home.
Ellie Brice had a hat trick and assist in Tuesday’s win over Hayward and Emma Larkowksi and Brooke Olson each scored a goal while Erin Huerta dished out three assists and Alise Wiehl had one. Lauren Sobczak made 19 saves as the Stars outshot the Hurricanes 23-21.
Friday at Eau Claire Brice scored Western Wisconsin’s lone goal, unassisted, in the third period to make the final 2-1. Sobczak finished with 30 saves as Eau Claire/Altoona outshot Western Wisconsin 32-21.
The Stars dominated Medford on Saturday at home, outshooting the Raiders 56-5 while getting goals from six different players.
Wiehl had a five-point game with four goals and an assist and Huerta had three goals and an assist while Ella Stenberg added one goal and one assist and Alaina Smith, Makena Ducklow and Larkowski scored one goal each. Brice and Josie Sawicki contributed two assists each while Lauren Gruber had one. Emailiya Schultz recorded the shutout in goal.