The University School co-op girls’ hockey team scored three goals in the second period to win an exciting Eastern Shores Conference game over the Bay Area Ice Bears, 3-1 on Friday, January 11th.
The win came on Senior Night at USM, allowing the Wildcats and their fans to truly celebrate the hockey careers of Lexie Epperson, Michaela Fritz, Libby Hennelly, Jenna Klenz, Karly Lamoreaux, Hannah Neudorfer, Savannah Peterson, Patty Revolinski, Julia Sanders, Karsyn Scheirich, Isabel Schmitt, Gaby Turer, and Kinzie Youngblood.
The win also came in the latest game in the long-standing rivalry between these two teams. It had implications for the conference and the sectional standings. The two foes knew it was an important contest and played with ardor from the opening faceoff to sound of the final buzzer.
Dan Carey, USM’s head coach, said, “First I want to congratulate and thank our seniors for their hard work and dedication to our program. We played really well tonight. The girls had a lot of energy tonight and competed hard. I was happy for our seniors, and the win made it a special night.”
The fans that packed the stands at USM were rewarded with a fine hockey game filled with back and forth action.
The first period was close but scoreless. The Ice Bears took 9 shots at freshman Sami Stommel, USM’s goaltender, while the Wildcats put 7 shots on the Ice Bears’ goalie, Jenna Christophersen, who is also a freshman.
The second period was a different story. The Wildcats came out roaring and took control, outshooting their guests 24-3 in the period. By the end of the game, the Wildcats had outshot the Ice Bears 36-15.
The Wildcats scored the game’s first goal in the opening minutes of the period. Two seniors made it happen. Epperson got the puck behind the Ice Bears’ net and passed it back and forth along the end boards with Lamoreaux. Eyeing an opening, Epperson skated to the left post as Lamoreaux moved out front on the right. Epperson’s crossing pass hit the skate of a defender and skipped past Christophersen just 1:30 into the frame.
Just over a minute later, two other seniors collaborated on another goal for the Wildcats. Sophomore Jordan Bonk started the play by gaining the puck deep in the Wildcats’ zone and winging a pass to Turer, who was speeding out of the zone. Turer raced along the right side and into the Ice Bears’ zone. From the top of the circle she blasted a shot toward the far post. The puck hit Christophersen’s pad and rebounded toward the left circle. Youngblood was roaring in from that side. She one-timed the puck into the opening for what would be the eventual game-winning goal at 2:37.
The Wildcats made it 3-0 at 7:32 of the period. Bonk took the puck from an Ice Bear player at the Wildcats’ blue line. She tipped it to Turer. Feeling pressure, Turer passed it back to Klenz who was open in the circle in the Wildcats’ zone. Avoiding an oncoming Ice Bear, Klenz rushed out of the zone and through center ice. As she approached a defenseman near the Ice Bears’ left circle, Klenz tipped the puck between the defender’s legs and dashed past to retrieve it. She continued on, deked Christophersen, and tipped the puck between her legs as well.
The Wildcats onslaught continued unabated through the remainder of the period, but with no new goals.
The pace of the third period was slightly slower, and penalties stemmed the steady flow of play. The ice Bears scored their lone goal late in the period on a power play. The Ice Bears pulled their goalie to give them a six on four advantage. The Wildcats nearly scored, but a shot at the empty net skipped to the left corner. Freshman Josie Sender got the loose puck and quickly passed it to fellow freshman Madison Anderson who was skating out of the zone. Anderson flew into the Wildcats’ zone. Using a defenseman as a screen, she fired a shot past Stommel at 15:45.
But it was too little, too late for the visitors. The Wildcat seniors and underclassmen had proved they deserved the victory.
Bay Area is now 7-8-3 and 2-3 in the Eastern Shores Conference. The Ice Bears host Rock County in a non-conference game at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, January 18th at the Cornerstone Community Center in Ashwaubenon.
USM is 12- 5 overall and 5-1 in the conference. The Wildcats play the Fox City Stars in an Eastern Shores Conference game at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, January 18th at the Tri-County Ice Arena in Neenah.