The University School of Milwaukee Wildcats scored once in the first period and once in the second, then held on through the third period to beat the Hayward Hurricanes 2-1 and claim their first Girls Hockey State Championship.
The Wildcats came into the game with a reputation as a high-scoring offensive juggernaut. Hayward was best known for their stifling defense. Each team had a top-notch goaltender in net.
USM stuck first, four minutes into the first period when Sloan Sullivan took a slapshot from the high slot that just snuck in under the crossbar and over the glove of Hurricanes goalie Lauren Tremblay.
Each team would generate breakaway opportunities later in the period, but were denied by Tremblay and Wildcats goalie Liz Ostermeyer.
Tremblay recorded eight saves in the first, while Ostermeyer stopped all ten shots she faced.
Three and a half minutes into the second period Sullivan put another shot on net. This one was stopped by Tremblay, but Wildcats leading scorer Nicole Unsworth was at the top of the crease to grab the recound. Unsworth quickly took one step to her left and lifted a backhand into the top of the net.
Tremblay made seven saves in the second, and Ostermeyer recorded nine.
“It was a great hockey game.” said USM coach Jason Woods after the game. “There were times when we played great, and there were times when we just hung on.”
Hayward got on the board two minutes into the third period. Amber Heidenreich carried the puck behind the Wildcats goal and tried to make a pass out front. Ostermeyeer moved to her right, anticipating a shot coming off the pass. But the puck hit a defender's skate and stayed on the side, where Jenna Curtis picked it up and put it behind Ostermeyer to cut the lead in half.
The Hurricanes stepped up their attack and generated several good scoring chances through the remainder of the game, but were unable to get anything else past Ostermeyer.
Ostermeyer finished the game with 27 saves, while Tremblay notched 24.