Sydney Hendricks’ natural hat trick led the Hudson Raiders to a 5-2 victory over the University School co-op girls’ hockey team in the opening round of the Girls High School Hockey Classic sponsored by Ticket King and the Milwaukee Admirals on Friday, January 4th at USM.
With Hudson already leading 2-1, Hendricks’ first goal at 11:08 of the second period was the eventual game winner. The senior captain followed it with two power play goals in the third period to give the Raiders an unassailable lead.
After the game, Hendricks said, “It was nice to get the lead and have momentum for the rest of the game. Our power play started clicking, and we got some good scoring opportunities tonight.”
As Hendricks noted, the key to the game was Hudson’s power play. The shot totals in the non-conference contest were nearly equal, The Raiders took 20 total shots on USM’s freshman goaltender Sami Stommel, while the Wildcats fired 23 at sophomore Amelia Halunen, who played goalie for Hudson. But Hudson scored three power play goals in the game and that was the difference.
“I thought we played well,” said the Wildcats’ head coach, Dan Carey, “we just couldn’t score.”
Hudson, however, did score. The Raiders’ first goal came on one of their four power play opportunities at 11:19 of the first period. As the Raiders worked the puck along the left side of the Wildcats’ zone, it went to junior Mallory Thompson in the corner. She passed it to senior Julia Wareham along the sideboards. Wareham passed it back. Thompson skated along the goal line then fired a high off-angle shot that flew into the net to give the Raiders the lead.
The Wildcats responded with a goal in the final seconds of the opening period. With time running out, senior Jenna Klenz hustled to get a loose puck in the Wildcats’ zone. She turned up ice and took off. She weaved her way through defenders in center ice and moved to the right boards as she entered Hudson territory. She skated down the right side, and as she neared the goal line, she cut toward the net. Moving in, she fired, and snuck a shot past Halunen with just 6 seconds left in the period.
Early in the second period the Raiders re-took the lead and never relinquished it for the remainder of the game. As the Raiders forechecked, Senior Dani Robson raced to a loose puck in the left corner of the Wildcats’ end. She wheeled along the boards. Nearing the top of the circle, she spun and fired a low shot. Wareham tipped it and the puck eluded Stommel at 3:48.
Hendricks scored the game’s next three goals. The first of her three occurred when a Wildcat defenseman lost control of the puck at the side of the Wildcats’ net. It flittered out to Hendricks in the slot. Hendricks one-timed a rising shot into the Wildcats’ net at 11:08 of the second period.
Hendricks’ next two goals came on power play opportunities in the third period. She gave Hudson a 4-1 lead when she took a pass from Robson at the center point, stepped in, and powered a shot through a screen and into the Wildcats’ net at 5:45. Junior Quinn Winkoski also had an assist on the play.
Hendricks’ third goal came on a similar play. She received a pass from sophomore Avery Johnson, her power play defensive partner, at the top of the left circle and swiftly whizzed a wrist shot past Stommel at 8:25.
The Wildcats scored their second goal late in the third period on their own power play. As the teams battled for the puck in the Hudson zone, a defender got the puck and tried to ice it. It hit the side of a Hudson player and caromed toward the net. Senior Libby Hennelly whacked at it. Halunen stopped Hennelly’ shot. The rebound skipped into the low slot where freshman Natalie Epperson snared it and fired it into the net at 15:57.
But the goal was too little too late for the Wildcats, and their visitors from Hudson captured the tournament victory.
Hudson is now 5-6 and 1-1 in the Big Rivers Conference. The Raiders continue play in the Girls High School Hockey Classic tournament with a non-conference game against the Lakeshore Lightning at noon on Saturday, January 5th at USM.
USM is 9-5 and 2-1 in the Eastern Shores Conference. The Wildcats play against Wisconsin Valley Union in the tournament’s final game. The Eastern Shores Conference match is scheduled to be played at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 5th at USM.