In close game that displayed some fine girls’ hockey action, the St. Croix Valley Fusion shutout the University School co-op team 2-0 in a non-conference game on a frigid Friday, January 25th at the Baldwin United Civic Center in Baldwin.
The Wildcats’ shooting was chilled by goalie Sydney Seeley, who earned the shutout for the Fusion. Seeley turned away all 20 shots the visitors could muster. At the other end of the ice, USM’s Sami Stommel also had a good game, making 22 saves.
The difference in the game between the two evenly matched opponents was that the Fusion were able to fire two shot past Stommel, one by Anna Albrightson and one by Bella Rasmuson, to give the home team the win.
Albrightson scored what would prove to be the game winner just 1:02 into the contest. As the Fusion forechecked, Albrightson pulled the puck away from a scrum on the right mid-boards and skated with it into the circle. She fired a wrist shot that Stommel stopped. Albrightson kept going. Unimpeded, she skated across the low slot, got the rebound, and quickly backhanded it into the net.
The game went back and forth throughout the remainder of the first period and the entire second period with zero goals. It was a thrilling contest for the fans who endured the chill in the rink on a night when the outside temperature had fallen below zero.
The Fusion went ahead by two early in the third period. Rasmuson collected a loose puck in center ice, stickhandled around one defender, and flew into the Wildcats zone. From the top of the left circle she whiplashed a wrist shot into the far upper corner of the Wildcats’ net at 3:02.
The game maintained its fiery intensity, and the Wildcats kept at it. But they could not solve Seeley. The Fusion sent the Wildcats into the night with a loss as bitter as the cold.
The Fusion are now 14-4-2. They travel to St. Paul to play North St. Paul/Tartan at the Tartan Ice Arena at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 26th.
USM is 12-7. The Wildcats stay in the chilly north to play Hudson in a non-conference game at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday January 26th at the Hunt Arena on the campus of the University of Wisconsin River Falls in River Falls.