The Central Wisconsin Storm broke a 0-0 tie with three unanswered second period goals and went on to defeat the University School co-op girls’ hockey team 5-0 in the opening round of the annual Gobbler Cup Tournament on Friday, November 23rd at the Mosinee Recreation Center in Mosinee.
“We did not play well,” said Dan Carey, the Wildcats’ head coach tersely.
Despite outshooting the Storm by a healthy 9-3 margin in the first period, the Wildcats were unable to score, and the period of the non-conference game concluded with the score deadlocked at 0-0. Both Sydney Weiland, the Storm goalie, and Sami Stommel, the Wildcats’ netminder, kept the game scoreless with their goaltending abilities.
The Storm then broke loose. They upset the balance of the game with a goal early in the second period. Eden Gruber snared a loose puck in the right corner of the Wildcats’ zone and quickly passed it out front to Kylie Hahner. Hahner swiftly one-timed a shot past Stommel at 2:48.
The goal gave the Storm momentum. They started to clearly out skate their visitors, and they soon scored their second goal. Trinity Foster got control of a loose puck in center ice and passed it to Macy Stepan who was perched on the center of the Wildcat blue line like a hungry hawk. Catching the Wildcat defensemen moving out of in their own zone, Stepan flew in past the defensemen. From the low slot she fired her shot and scored at 6:43.
Just over a minute later, the Storm scored again. Forechecking diligently, Hahner swiped the puck from a USM defender in the right corner of the Wildcats zone. The puck bounced in front of the net. Another Wildcat tried to skate it away, but danger lurked too close. Gruber snapped her stick against the defender’s, knocking the puck past Stommel in the same move. Time of the goal: 7:49.
The Storm made it 4-0 early in the third period. Brenna Holtz got the puck behind her team’s net and chipped a hard pass off the boards to Kassidy Olivia in center ice. Olivia took off with Kayla Piskula joining her on a two-on-two break. As Olivia entered the low slot of the Wildcats zone, she passed the puck to Piskula. Piskula immediately shot it to score her first varsity goal at 1:28.
The Storm concluded the game’s scoring at 10:45 of the third period. Drew Sabatke made a breakout pass to Audrey Ladewig on the left boards in the Storm zone. Ladewig knocked the puck into open ice just outside the blue line between the two Wildcat defensemen. Gruber sped to get it, heading off on a breakaway. Approaching the Wildcats’ goal, she deked Stommel and shoveled the puck past her for the goal.
After the game, two of the USM’s captains found some solace in the dismal result, “There’s room for improvement, a spacious amount,” said Lexi Epperson.
Jenna Klenz then added, “I think that the score did not accurately represent the game and our potential. I think that it can be a good turning point for us to realize how great we can be, but that we have to work for it.”
The Storm’s record is now 3-0. They face the Eau Claire Stars in the championship game of the Gobbler Cup Tournament. The non-conference game begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Mosinee Recreation Center in Mosinee.
USM is 1-1. The Wildcats play Hayward in a non-conference game in the tournament’s consolation match on Saturday, November 24th at 12:30 p.m. at the same venue.