The University School co-op girls’ hockey team scored three third-period goals to defeat their Eastern Shores Conference arch-rival, the Bay Area Ice Bears, 4-1 in a game on Friday, December 1st at the Cornerstone Community Center in Green Bay.
Senior Abby Hentzen led the Wildcats with two goals. Senior Hannah Gold scored one goal, and junior Jenna Klenz added an empty net goal for the Wildcats. Junior Mia Dunning scored Bay Area’s one goal.
Hentzen described her goals. “For the first goal, I was the third forward high, and I saw that the puck was loose in front of the net and the goalie was on the ground by the far post, so I went in to scramble for the loose puck. The puck deflected off my skate and into the goal. It wasn’t the most accomplished goal because it was pretty accidental, but it felt good to get a lead on the Bears and bring up the energy the team needed to help us score again.
“For the second goal, in a similar situation, I was the third forward high, and Megan had taken a shot that gave off a rebound, so I skated towards the net and tapped it in. The second goal was more accomplished than the first and it felt good to go further ahead as tensions grew on the bench.”
The game was fast-paced. The two teams skated hard all night. The end to end action in the first period resulted in no goals for either team, as senior goaltender Juliana Strother turned aside all seven shots taken by the home team. Senior Delany Butterfield stopped all 14 shots the Wildcats put on net in the period. Strother ended the game with a total of 18 saves, while Butterfield made a total of 36 saves in the contest.
The Wildcats effectively killed off a major penalty in the early portion of the second period as Strother and her defenders frustrated the Bay Area attack. The tide then began to turn and the Wildcats finally broke the scoreless tie late in the period.
As the Wildcats forechecked forcefully in the Ice Bears’ zone on a power play, sophomore defenseman Maggie Meissner pinched down the right boards to prevent an Ice Bears’ defenseman from clearing the puck out of the zone. Meissner continued to tenaciously harass the defender in the corner, and she
knocked the puck loose. Senior Megan McPike snatched up the puck, turned like a tornado, and skated toward the slot. She whipped a backhander at Butterfield. The puck careened off the skate of Hentzen who was near the left post. It skittered across the goal line at 12:46 giving the Wildcats the lead.
The Ice Bears soon tied the score. They were killing another penalty. As the Wildcats moved the puck around the Bay Area end, the puck popped loose in the left circle. Dunning raced to it, chipped it off the boards past a player at the blue line, and sped toward the Wildcats’ end on a breakaway. As she crossed into the Wildcats’ territory, she released a zinger of a shot that rang off the far pipe and flew into the net at 15:01.
Undismayed by the turn of events, the Wildcats came out in the third period and continued to pressure their hosts. As a consequence, they wore down the opposition and scored three goals.
The first of these occurred on the very first shift of the period. Backchecking in center ice, McPike collected a loose puck and chipped it off the right boards. The puck bounced to Gold’s stick. Gold looped around the center ice circle and skated down the left side. From the top of the circle in the Bay Area end, she gunned a shot past Butterfield at 0:29.
The Wildcats continued their efforts and scored again at 5:56. While they forechecked in the Bay Area end, Hentzen moved down the slot and knocked the puck away from a defenseman. It bounced into the right circle where junior Lexie Epperson corralled it. Epperson sent a centering pass to McPike in the slot. McPike fired. The rebound bounced to Hentzen and she whacked it past Butterfield.
Time wore on and the Ice Bears became desperate in need of a goal. They pulled Butterfield and applied six-on-five pressure in the Wildcats’ zone. Strother made two key saves. Then Gold won a battle for the puck in the right corner and passed it to Klenz in the near circle. Klenz turned and cleared the puck. It slid down the ice and entered the empty net at 15:31, assuring the Wildcats’ of a victorious ride back to Milwaukee.
Jennifer DeGeorge, who coached the forwards for the Wildcats, was pleased with the victory saying, “The girls earned their second hard fought win this week against another tough team. We outshot, outskated, and outlasted Green Bay tonight. The girls’ hard work during the week is clearly paying off during games. It’s great seeing them work together so well and having fun.”
Bay Area is now 3-1-1. The Ice Bears face off with the Fox City Stars in an Eastern Shores Conference game at 8:15 p.m. on Monday, December 4th at the Cornerstone Community Center in Green Bay.
USM is 4-1 and 1-0 in the Eastern Shores Conference. The Wildcats play Arrowhead in an Eastern Shores Conference game at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 5th at USM.