The Hilltoppers traveled to Eau Claire to take on the ECA Stars. Both teams were playing their second game of the young season. The Hilltoppers entered the game after losing the season opener at home to the Fox Cities Stars. The ECA Stars had a tough one goal victory on the road over Black River Falls.
The game started with both teams pressing the action.The Hilltoppers were unable to clear the puck from in front of the net as Elsa Mitchell made the initial save, but Kennedy Gruhle and Gracen Garlie came in to pick up the garbage. Kennedy Gruhlke gave the Stars the lead at 9:32 of the first period with an assist from Gracen Garlie. The action continued late in the first Mitchell showed her concentration was on the game, when a shot from the Stars looked like it hit a ramp at the bottom of the face-off circle and Mitchell tracked it into her body for the save.
The second period found the Stars increasing their lead to two, when Kate Roberts fed the puck from behind the goal line to Lauryn Eckloff to slide past Mitchell at 4:52. The lead went to 3 on a power play goal by Kennedy Gruhlke with an assist from Evelyn Kolar and Addison Gruhlke at 6:28 of the second. The Hilltoppers continued to apply pressure and it payed off as Kiya Bronston weaved her way through defenders from the Onalaska defensive zone to the offensive zone. Kiya was able to take the shot and get it past Alesha Smith to cut the deficit to two with 1:49 remaining in the second period.
The third period started with the Stars up 3-1. Each team had scoring opportunities, but it was the Hilltoppers finding the back of the net at 12:14 of the third. Jaden Hammes scored with an assist from McKenna LaFleur making it a one goal game. Onalaska pulled their goalie with 1:23 remaining in regulation. The Hilltoppers continued to apply the pressure and looked to have a chance to score with seconds remaining, but the puck went to the left of the pipe and the ECA Stars celebrated their second victory in as many games to start the season.
The Stars next game will be a conference game in Hudson on Tuesday, November 30th. The Hilltoppers will be on the road in Minnesota to play Winona on Tuesday, November 30th.