The Team Wisconsin girls got a pair of early goals to take a 2-0 lead, but couldn't hang on as a strong MN Seniors team scored the last three goals of the contest to take a 3-2 win over TW Saturday night in the final pool play game at the CCM NIT at the Fogerty Ice House.
The MN squad had two Minnesota Ms. Hockey finalists—winner Maddy Wethington was a no-show—but the TW girls decided to show their western neighbors that they could play a little bit, too.
There was a lot of back-and-forth action in the early going, and MN goalie Calla Frank and TW netminder Abby Severson acquitted themselves quite well, turning aside shot after shot to keep the game scoreless.
Then Maddy Jablonski took it upon herself to change the numbers on the scoreboard.
Jablonski grabbed the puck near her own blue line and set sail for the other end. She cut to the middle, cruised down the slot, and ripped a shot that beat Frank high on the glove side to give TW a 1-0 lead with just over 14 to go in the first 'half.'
Minnesota appeared to have tied the game three minutes later, but the goal was waved off as the officials determined a MN player was in the crease.
Two minutes later, Taylar Meier scored to make it 2-0, with assists to Eve Parker and Alyssa Heim.
Then it was Minnesota's turn.
After a battle for a loose puck behind the TW cage was won by Sophia Flatley, she sent a pass out front to Sophia Hoppe, who buried it high glove past the TW goalie to cut the lead in half with 2:17 left on the clock.
The period ended with that 2-1 score. Shots were 15-13, MN.
Early in the second, MN had another goal waved off as the refs stated the net was off.
But three minutes later, MN tied the game when Kelsey King connected on a back-door pass from Sadie Peart four minutes into the second period to make it a 2-2 hockey game.
TW had its chances in the middle of the second period, but new goalie Stephanie Garvis stopped three point-blank shots after a TW penalty had expired.
A few minutes later, MN got the game-winner on a 2-on-1 bust-out when Maddie McCollins scored short side past the TW goalie's right shoulder and the post to make it 3-2, MN.
TW had a good chance with about six minutes left when Lauryn Hull and Meier went in on a 2-on-1. Hull dropped a pass for Meier, who ripped a shot on which the goalie made a 'mask save' to protect the narrow lead.
Team Wisconsin coach Dave Witting called a time-out with 1:17 remaining, trying to make a plan to get their goalie off for an extra skater.
That kinda-sorta backfired, as it took 35 seconds for Severson to come off as MN applied pressure and TW was unable to tally the game-tying goal as MN skated off with the 3-2 win.
Garvis was perfect in her back-up role for MN, stopping 17 of 17. Severson also played well, making several key stops in turning aside 15 shots in the period for a game total of 29.
TW and the MN 18s will play at 1:45 pm Sunday for third place.