It wasn’t a big surprise that the Bay Area Ice Bears and the Fox Cities Stars would meet in the Championship Game of the inaugural Wisconsin Prep Hockey Girls Holiday Classic. They are ranked third and fourth respectively in the state. The teams did not disappoint as the game lived up to the high expectations.
The teams had met previously, on December 4, when the Icebears “Gave us a lesson in how to play hockey,” according to assistant coach Chris McGuirk. Bay Area won that game 5-2 and it remains the only blemish on the Stars season record.
This time the Stars struck first. Maleiyah Streck threw the puck from the corner to the front of the net and Megan Tesky wasted no time slapping it past Icebears goalie Barbora Hromádková just five minutes into the first period.
The teams skated up and down the ice and put nearly a dozen shots each on net the rest of the priod, but there would be no further scoring in the first frame.
The second period featured more of the same. Each team moved the puck. Each team generated scroing opportunities. Yet each team was denied entry to the net.
There was only one penalty called on each team in the first two periods, both for tripping, as the officials were “letting them play”, as the saying goes. The offense had to be very obvious in order to draw a whistle.
Things tightened up in the third period, with Fox Cites trying to defend their lead and not taking as many chances, and Bay Area unable to crack the Stars defense. The Stars only mustered three shots on net in the third, while the Icebears got but two. However, one of the Bay Area shots got past netminder Ella Sciborski.
Makayla Spejcher picked up a loose puck in the neutral zone and proceeded to weave her way around and through each of the Stars skaters before deeking left then moving to the right to beat Sciborski and tie the game with just under six minutes left in regulation. Overtime was looming.
The eight minute, five on five overtime was much like the second period. Lots of skating, crisp passing, good defense, no goals.
The five minute, three on three overtime had an interesting moment. Tow of the Icebears got behind the Fox Cities defense and went in on a two on zero breakaway. That’s when the Stars Lily Schmear decided her best option was to toss her stick to try to break up the play, which she did. The ensuing penalty shot was taken by Spejcher, one of the skater involved in the breakaway.
Sciborski stopped the penalty shot, and with no further scoring, the game moved to a five person shootout.
Parker Beyer scored the only goal in the shootout, giving the trophy to the Fox cities Stars.