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Storm Wear Down Cap City to Earn Championship Shot

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 02/29/24, 7:30PM CST


The #1 Central Wisconsin Storm and #4 Cap City Cougars kicked off the girls state tournament on Thursday evening at Bob Suter's Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton. Nobody knew what to expect with the Cougars who came in from being the fifth seed in section 3.

While they played well, they weren't able to keep up with the Storm who skated to a 4-1 win and will return to their first championship game since their state title in 2022.

Just 1:21 into the first period Brooke Ayres of the Cougars was injured on a play in the corner. She was down long enough that the officials sent both teams back to the locker rooms. 

After a 25 minute delay the teams returned to the ice. Cap City scored on the ensuing power play on a wrister from the right faceoff dot by Teegan Davis giving the Cougars an early lead.

The Storm answered back seven minutes later at 7:14 of the first one a one-timer by Ava Rode on a feed from Jayden Yirkovsky in the corner. 

While shots in the period were 10-3, all three of Cap City's shots were quality scoring chances and both goalies, Sofia Martinelli and Claire Clames, had to make quality saves in the period.

The Storm opened the second period with 31 seconds of power play time and made it count scoring just 20 seconds into the period. Gabi Heuser had the puck in Gretzky's office and hit Tristan Wicklund out front. Wicklund quick one-timed it into the net for the 2-1 lead.

Shots were just as lopsided in the second, with the Storm outshooting the Cougars 14-5, but the Cougars still had several quality scoring chances that tested Storm goalie Claire Calmes.

Central Wisconsin extended the lead at the 14:13 mark of the third period on the power play. Gabi Heuser hit Madi DePuydt who fed Wicklund in the slot where she was able to pick her spot and extend the lead.

Heuser and DePuydt teamed up for a power play goal five minutes later. On a mad scramble in front of the net Martinelli stopped the puck but wasn't able to cover and Heuser pushed it in before the Cougars could clear it.

That was it for the scoring and the Storm take the 4-1 win into Saturday's championship game against the winner of St Croix Valley and Bay Area.

Martinelli had 30 saves in the loss for the Cougars, and Calmes had 9 saves in the win for the Storm.

WiPH Game Summaries