Junior Emily Mueller scored a goal late in the third period to give the University School Wildcats co-op a come from behind 1-1 tie with the Lakeshore Lightning in a tight non-conference girls’ hockey game that began the 2019-2020 season on Friday, November 22nd at USM.
Dan Carey, USM’s head coach, commented on the tie, “It was a fun start to the season. The girls competed hard and fought to tie it up.”
The Lightning’s senior goalie Kami McCardle kept the game close. She frustrated the Wildcats, who outshot the Lightning 45-19 in the game. McCardle made 44 saves while Sami Stommel, the Wildcats’ sophomore goalie, made 18 saves in three periods of regulation time and one eight minute overtime.
The opening period was scoreless. The Wildcats outshot the visitors 13-3 in the frame.
The Lightning took the lead on the very first shot of the second period. From the center ice face off, they got the puck into the USM zone and proceeded to forecheck diligently. On an attempted clear by the Wildcats, the puck bounced to sophomore Joelle Erickson in the slot. She passed it to senior defenseman Lauren Curtis, who was unmarked at the left point. Curtis one-timed a hard slap shot through the crowd past the screened Stommel. The puck rang off the goal post and caromed into the net just 0:16 into the period.
The Lightning killed off six penalties, and the Wildcats killed three in regulation time, as the game continued tied with both teams struggling to score.
The Wildcats finally solved their scoreless dilemma during a delayed penalty. Junior Zoe Neudorfer grabbed a loose puck along the left boards in center ice. As she skated into the Lightning zone, the referee raised his arm to call a penalty behind the play. Neudorfer moved into the left circle and took a shot. The puck hit the goal and bounced back to her. She tipped the puck to the right corner where Mueller collected it. Mueller skated behind the net then passed the puck to her classmate Jordan Bonk on the left midboards. Bonk held her ground as Mueller floated into the high slot. Bonk returned the puck to Mueller who swiftly fired a wrist shot. The puck clanged off the upper corner of the goal post and sailed behind McCardle to tie the score at 1-1 with just 5:10 left in regulation time.
Mueller described the goal, “It happened because Jordan was down low and gave me a pass in the high slot. She passed it, and I just shot right away. At first I did not know it went in until Jordan threw her hands up. It was a great feeling because I knew that we needed a goal, and I did not want to lose to Lakeshore. It gave out team energy to keep pushing because after that goal, we were dominating.”
As a result of Mueller’s tying goal, the game went into overtime. The drama of the overtime situation was heightened by the fact that each team had a penalty, although neither power play was able to score the winning goal. Both goaltenders kept their cool in those tense eight minutes. McCardle stopped all six shots the Wildcats took in the OT. Stommel made two saves during the extra period.
After the game, senior Maggie Meissner, one of the Wildcats’ captains, said, “I thought the game went well tonight. Even though we tied, everyone played well and put in a lot of effort. We were able to work on our systems and get game experience, which was important for the team to be able to come together on the ice in more active situations. We were able to learn a lot and can now use what we did in this game to grow in the future. I think it was a great game to start the season, and we now know where we can grow.”
Carey added, “We have a lot of things to work on, but the girls are eager to get better. We are a pretty young group, but it will be fun watch us develop throughout the season.”
Both teams are now 0-0-1 and 0-0 in the Eastern Shores Conference.
The Lightning host Arrowhead in a game at the Ozaukee Ice Center at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 23rd.
The Wildcats will wait until after Thanksgiving to play their next game. They will face off against Hayward at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, November 29th in the opening round of the annual Gobbler Cup Tournament in Mosinee.