It was an emotional night at Madison Ice Arena. Honoring and raising awareness for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS) has become a personal mission for Ava Jambor. Last year she met and became immediately attached to Noah Sanger and his battle with Leukemia. Last year, through Ava’s efforts, she raised over $50,000 for LLS. Her bond with Noah and his family has only grown stronger.
This year, she initiated another fundraising event to help not only Noah, but everyone affected by LLS. Noah and his brother took part in the warmups and their smiles could be seen from miles away. They were a reminder of the true passion and fun of this great sport.
Staring lineup consisted of Ava Jambor and Noah Sanger. After Noah gave a fist bump to all Lakeshore and Lynx players followed by a ceremonial puck drop, the real one would follow.
Ava Jambor and her line of Claire Wischoff and Maddy Ahlborn would set the tone for the game. They immediately got the puck in the offensive zone and started a relentless attack. Lakeshore goaltender Kami McCardell was a huge reason the first period was close. The Lynx would control most of the play, firing 23 shots on net and only scoring one. Goals by Kaya Byce and Hannah Kolpien would put the Lynx up 2-0.
The second period would be much similar to the first with the Lynx maintaining puck possession but McCardell would remain stubborn putting up another 19 saves and only giving up 1 goal to Sydney Raaths. The period ended 3-0 in favor of the Lynx.
The third period the Lynx bombarded McCardell with 18 more shots. She would finish the night stopping 58 of 63 fired at her.
However, it would be the Lightning that would strike this time. As a Lightning forward rushed up ice, she faked outside, went inside and let off a backhander that Lynx goaltender Addie Anderson got a piece of. It fell behind her and a scramble ensued. Noelle Simbro was able to poke the puck into the net to make it 3-1 in favor of the Lynx.
However, the Lynx would respond. Hannah Kolpien would notch a goal to make it 4-1.
The most important and emotional goal of the night would come with the Lynx shorthanded and Lakeshore pulling the goalie. Ava Jambor was on the ice and picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone. She streaked up ice with great determination and found a seam in the Lightning defense, firing a shot from the red line that found the open net.
What could be more fitting than Ava starting the game and finishing with a goal. A night when real life transcends the game itself. All players on the ice were fortunate to have the opportunity to play this game. Hats off to Lakeshore who competed hard all the way to the end.
Hopefully, all players will look back and realize they were playing for something bigger. Not just for Noah, but for all who are fighting this affliction.
At the end of the day, our Metro Hero is really Noah Sanger and everyone battling alongside him.