As two of the original six WIAA girls hockey teams, the #2 Superior Spartans and #3 Hudson Raiders have played each other many times over the last 22 years, including a 4-3 overtime game earlier this season.
Coming into the game we knew the names to watch were Averie Martin, Kaylie Prater, and Catt Donna for Hudson, and Makaela Reinke, Autumn Cooper and Kaylie Nault for Superior, and they did not disappoint in a game that went down to the wire before Superior took the 3-2 win.
Superior cracked the seal first at 6:33 of the first period. Makaela Reinke had the puck in the right corner and hit Autumn Cooper with a pass behind the net. Cooper slid out left and hit Isabella Thompson in front for a one-timer past Catt Donna and 1-0 lead.
Neither team would score again until 15:07 of the second period, when on their fifth power play of the game Hudson finally managed to get one past Superior goalie Kaylie Nault.
Brook Monicken and Averie Martin went across the blue line before getting it down to Bella Bluth in front of the net. Bluth slid the puck through Nault's legs to tie the game.
The last time these two teams played Superior took 27 shots in regulation and 34 overall, but Hudson held them to just nine through the first two periods on Thursday.
Hudson moved into the driver's seat just 46 seconds into the third period when Averie Martin and Kaylie Prater came in on a 2-on-2. It looked like the Superior defense was going to send Martin to the corner but she snuck a pass behind her late, just before the goal line, across to Prater who stuck her stick out and redirected it up and into the top corner for a 2-1 lead.
That woke up something in Superior who tied the game up 3 minutes later on a power play tally by Makaela Reinke, who went through the whole Raider team before making a wide stick move around Donna to tie the game at two.
In the first 10 minutes of the third period, Superior doubled their shot total for the game, but Donna stood tall for the Raiders. Superior continued to control the period and pile on shots, outshooting the Raiders 14-3 in the period, but it was the final shot that mattered the most.
With Hudson on the power play and time winding down Cooper picked a Hudson pocket on the blue line and raced back, she lifted the puck past the lone defender and then roofed it to give Superior a 3-2 lead with just 12 seconds to play.
Hudson called their timeout coming out of the short handed goal by Cooper, but they weren't able to put another shot on net and Superior took the 3-2 win.
Catt Donna stopped 20 of 23 in the loss for the Raiders. Kaylie Nault stopped 17 of 20 in the win for the Spartans who will face the Bay Area Ice Bears on the Championship on Saturday.