RIVER FALLS, Wis. -- River Falls struck first in its Big Rivers Conference matchup against fourth-ranked Chippewa Falls Saturday, Jan. 2, at Wildcat Centre, but it was all Cardinals after that.

The Wildcats led 1-0 at the end of the first period thanks to a goal by Tye Kusilek, but Chippewa Falls scored three times in the second period and four more in the third to leave town with a 7-1 victory.

Kusilek gave River Falls a 1-0 lead when he poked in a rebound of a Will Manns shot shortly after a Wildcat power play expired with just over four minutes remaining in the first period. The Cats took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission despite being outshot 19-6.

River Falls’ Dylan Rach (2) tries to rein in a loose puck behind his own net in the first period of the Wildcats’ 7-1 loss to fourth-ranked Chippewa Falls Saturday, Jan. 2, in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia
River Falls’ Dylan Rach (2) tries to rein in a loose puck behind his own net in the first period of the Wildcats’ 7-1 loss to fourth-ranked Chippewa Falls Saturday, Jan. 2, in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

The Cardinals wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the second, netting the tying goal 45 seconds into the period and the go-ahead goal five minutes later. It was a 3-1 Cardinal lead after two and they tacked on four more goals in the third to walk away with the 7-1 win.

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River Falls’ goalie Andrew Adermann had a busy afternoon in net, making 53 saves as the Cardinals outshot the Wildcats 60-17. River Falls was 0-for-5 on the power play while being whistled for ten minor penalties that led to two Chippewa Falls power play goals.

Chippewa Falls improved to 4-2 on the season while River Falls dropped to 0-6. The Wildcats are scheduled to return to action Thursday, Jan. 7, at home against Menomonie.