The Hayward Hurricanes and Central Wisconsin Storm narrowly edged the University School of Milwaukee Wildcats and Eau Claire Areas Stars on Friday afternoon to advance to the Gobler Cup final.
After the JV games in the morning, the Hurricanes and Wildcats kicked off the tournament proper.
Both teams played a tight, scoreless game for 43 minutes and 22 seconds. Hayward did a fine job of generating scoring chances during that time, where the Wildcats were content to dump-and-chase on offense for most of the game.
With just under eight minutes left in regulation, Alex Pieterek of the Hurricanes secured the puck on the near-side boards and headed up the ice. She chipped the puck past a pinching defenseman, and the center ice defender took too long getting back, leaving Pieterek 114 feet of uncontested ice between her and Wildcats goalie Sammy Stommel. Pieterek made a nice move to secure the game's only goal.
Pieterek and Jerzy Petit stood out for the Hurricanes in this early season tilt. Jordan Bonk opened eyes for the Wildcats.
In the second game of the afternoon, the Central Wisconsin Storm and Eau Claire Area stars skated to a 2-2 tie after 59 minutes, and the Storm won the shootout 4-3 to secure their slot in the championship game.
Scoring opened much quicker in this one. Madison Schwengler opened the scoring just 4:03 into the game. She took the puck around the net and made a move to get it out front, where it hit off goalie Katerina Fredrickson and bounced into the net to give the Stars the early lead.
The Storm tied it up eight minutes later. Samantha Federici came into the Stars' zone on a 1-on-1. She made a move to poke the puck past the defenseman, and lost control. As it slide toward the net, it went under the glove of goalie Alesha Smith and into the net.
Both goalies would probably like to forgot the goals that opened the scoring in this one.
The Storm took a 2-1 lead with just under two minutes left in the first. Trinity Foster secured the puck behind the Stars' net and sent it out front to Kassidy Oliva. As the Stars defense pulled into Oliva she slid the puck across the slot to Macy Stepan, who had a wide open shot at the net for the lead.
The Storm controlled play for the remainder of the first period and most of the second, limiting the Stars to just one shot in that time.
But the Stars came out hot in the third period and tied the game up nine minutes left in the frame. Lauren Carmody secured the puck in the left circle and stepped in and made a nice shot past Fredrickson to tie the game. It wasn't a power play goal, but the Storm penalty had just expired and the fifth skater still hadn't made it back into the defensive zone.
That is where it would stay for the remainder of regulation and through the overtime period, with the game officially ending in a 2-2 tie.
The Storm put in four pucks in the 5-skater shootout, versus three for the Stars, to push the Storm into the final against Hayward.