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Ice Bears Get the Chance to Defend Their Title

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 02/29/24, 10:30PM CST


Many pundits and prognosticators thought that the Bay Area Ice Bears might be the number one seed in the girls state tournament, but they came out of the seeding meeting as the number three seed where they took on the two seed St Croix Valley Fusion, Thursday evening at Bob Suter's Capitol Ice Arena. 

The Ice Bears answered by out shooting the Fusion 33 to 10 across three periods, and if not a heroic effort by Kendall Sundby of the Fusion the game may not have been nearly as close as it was. 

In the end the Ice Bears took away a hard fought 5-4 win.

Kendall Sundby opened the scoring at 4:02 of the first period when she picked off a pass went went on a breakaway beating goalie Parker Bartholomaus glove side to take the early lead.

It was short lived however as the Ice Bears came back and scored on the very next shift, just 12 seconds later. Hannah von Haden took a feed from Tina Stindt and put it in to tie the game.

The Ice Bears added to their lead just 52 seconds later when Emily Bill put one in on a feed from Kristina Kruse. 

The wild period continued at the 9:24 mark when the Fusion retied the game on a half breakaway by Lilly Mittl who followed her own rebound and put it in to tie the game at 2. 

The Ice Bears led the shot total in the first period 9-5.

The Fusion retook the lead at the 1:18 mark of the second on a power play goal by Kendall Sundby. She fired one from up high through a screen and Bartholomaus wasn't able to get her eyes on it before it went in to make it 3-2 Fusion.

Sundby extended the lead to 4-2 for the Fusion while they were down two players on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. Jane Volgren chipped the puck out of the zone and Sundby out raced the Ice Bears defender for the puck and swept across the front of the net to make a two-goal lead.

After a major penalty on the Fusion, the Ice Bears cut the lead to 4-3 when Ava McDonald scored on a second rebound after shots by Briana Anundsen and Tiana Stindt at the 10:46 mark of the second.

After two periods Bay Area held a 24-9 shot advantage but it wasn't helping them on the scoreboard.

It helped in the third however when they tied it up at 14:08 on a tipped shot goal by Hannah VonHaden. They took the lead at 12:38 on a rebound goal by Fay Brunke. She followed her own shot on a 2-on-2 and put in the rebound to take the lead.

Parker Bartholomaus had 6 saves in the win for Bay Area. Anna Woolley had 28 in the loss for the Fusion.

WiPH Game Summaries