In the opening round of the Girls Hockey Wildcat Cup Tournament at University School, the Arrowhead Warriors scored a goal in the opening 30 seconds then, thanks to the goaltending of Emma Tate, held on to defeat the University School co-op team, 2-1 on Friday, December 13th.
The Wildcats out shot Arrowhead 25-12, but they could not solve Tate, who turned aside all but one of the shots by the tournament’s host. USM’s goalkeeper, Sami Stommel stopped 10 of the Warhawks’ attempts in the non-conference contest.
Norah Hazelton’s quick goal put the Wildcats back on their heels right from the start. From the drop of the puck, the Warhawks moved the puck into the Wildcats’ zone. As a Wildcat defender started a breakout play, the puck slipped away from her stick and bounced to Riley Hill in the slot. Hill immediately drilled a shot past four Wildcats and onto the pads of Stommel. The rebound bounced to the side of the crease. Hazelton rushed to it to push it into the net, just 29 seconds into the game.
Arrowhead made it 2-0 early in the second period. On a change, the Wildcats put the puck into the Arrowhead zone. Trina Povich collected it and skated toward the Wildcat zone unchecked. As she crossed the blue line, a lone defenseman moved over to cover her. So Povich took a shot. She rushed past the defender and jammed her own rebound past Stommel at 4:19.
The Wildcats came alive and began to pressure the Warhawks more fervently. Their forechecking ardor increased, especially in the third period when they kept the puck in the Arrowhead zone often, outshooting their visitors 9-2 in the period. Still, they could only get one past Tate.
That one came at 7:04 of the third period while the Wildcats were on the power play. Jordan Bonk skated the puck into the Arrowhead zone along the right side as her line mate Emily Mueller headed toward the net. Bonk button hooked, and fed a short pass to Zoe Uihlein who was moving into the near circle. Uihlein immediately fired a low shot. The rebound dropped in to Mueller’s feet near the crease. She backhanded it under Tate for the score.
The Wildcats’ intensity notched up further, particularly in the final 1:34 when they pulled Stommel for an extra skater. But Tate and her teammates held firm, and the Warhawks moved into the tournament’s championship contest as a result.
Defenseman Maggie Meissner, one of USM’s captains, commented on the game, “Our team worked really hard in this game. We played well, especially in the end of the second and the third periods. We got into our systems, and were able to execute them well. A lot went well, and everyone played hard, we just didn’t get the goal to match our efforts.”
USM’s coach, Dan Carey, reiterated the captain’s points, "I know the girls are disappointed with the loss but we are seeing a lot of positive things. We really dominated the play at times but couldn't generate more offense. We are going through a tough spot. but the girls are getting better, and we are really starting to execute our systems. We will get there."
Arrowhead is now 6-3-1. The Warhawks face off against the Cap City Cougars in the USM Girls Hockey Wildcat Cup Tournament championship game at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14th at USM.
USM is 1-4-2. The Wildcats play the Central Wisconsin Storm in the consolation game of the tournament at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 14th at USM.