Like the winds before a winter storm, the Hudson Raiders swept into Milwaukee and defeated the University School co-op girls’ hockey team 4-1 in the first round of the Girls High School Hockey Classic Tournament on Friday, January 10th at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Ice Arena.
The Raiders displayed powerful offensive prowess in the tournament sponsored by the Milwaukee Admirals and Ticket King. Hudson outshot the Wildcats 40-12 in the lopsided contest. The Wildcats’ goaltender, Sami Stommel, battled bravely and turned aside 36 of the Raiders’ attempts. Alayna Kunshier, Hudson’s goalie, had a far easier time at the other end of the arena. She made 11 saves during the afternoon.
“Hudson has a really nice team,” said Dan Carey, USM’s head coach. “We played them tough, but they were able to take advantage of a couple opportunities. We continue to get better when we play against teams like Hudson.”
Hudson wasted no time in putting a number in the scoring column on the jumbotron above center ice. Skating underneath the scoreboard, Nikki Olund stripped the puck away from a Wildcat defenseman’s stick and skated with it into the Wildcats’ zone. From the center of the slot she gunned a shot past Stommel just 41 seconds into the first period.
Hudson took a 2-0 lead later in the period. Along the boards in Hudson’s zone, Morgan Miller knocked the puck off a Wildcat stick. It careened toward the blue line and Bayley Glasspoole collected it. Glasspoole skated into the Wildcats’ end and headed toward the net. She pulled the puck around one defenseman. As the other stepped over to meet her, she fired a shot into Stommel’s pads. Hattie Carr raced in and bumped the rebound across the goal line at 11:30.
The Wildcats regained some momentum by scoring their lone goal late in the first period. Natalie Epperson stopped a Hudson breakout by sweeping the puck from a Raider’s stick at the blue line. Epperson skated to the sliding puck at the left mid-boards. She skated into the low circle and attempted a crossing pass to Rachel Gauthier who was hurrying toward the far post. The puck hit a defenseman’s stick and bounced toward Olund. The goalie dropped to stop it. In the ensuing scramble in the crease, Epperson knocked it to the side and Emily Mueller thrust it past Olund. Time of the goal was 15:53.
With the score just 2-1, the play was intense in the second period as the Wildcats tried to tie it. They kept at it, including some good efforts on their power plays, but Hudson was able to two late goals in the period, to knock the Wildcats back.
The Raiders made it 3-1 at 13:19. Leah Parker skated with puck out in the Hudson and burst past a Wildcat defenseman’s stick sweep at the blue line. Taylor Vanderschneider joined her in a 2-on-1 rush through center ice. Crossing the Wildcats’ line, Parker passed the puck to Vanderschneider, who quickly fired it on net, then sped in for the rebound and knocked the puck in for the goal.
Hudson delivered another blow to the Wildcats’ hopes in the last five seconds of the second period. Skating five on three, the Raiders killed off one penalty. Just as the second penalty concluded, Rose Giblin cleared the puck from deep in the Hudson zone to Mallory Thompson who had slipped behind the Wildcat defense. At that very moment, Parker sprang free of the penalty box. She joined Thompson on a 2-on-0 breakaway. As Thompson moved into the Wildcats zone, she zipped a pass to Parker who was dashing to the far post. Parker touched the puck into the net at 16:55.
The Wildcats stayed determined and a had a good third period, holding the Raiders scoreless and taking 6 of their 14 shots during it. But because the clock was put on running time so the Admirals could take the ice on time for their game, the Wildcats ran out of time.
After the game, one of the Wildcats’ captains, Maggie Meissner, commented on the loss, “Today’s game was a hard battle, but it was super fun to play at the Panther Arena. We can look back at the game to see what to improve on in our systems and gameplay and use it as a basis to improve upon.”
An impending snowstorm caused the cancellation of the tournament’s second round scheduled for Saturday, so the victory allowed the Raiders to return to Hudson with a 4-8-1 record. They play the Chippewa Falls/Menomonie Sabers in a Big Rivers Conference game at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 14 at the Hudson Sports and Civic Center in Hudson.
USM is now 3-7-4 and 1-0-2 in the Eastern Shores Conference. The Wildcats play the Lakeshore Lightning in an Eastern Shores Conference game at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 17, at USM.