The top-seeded Eau Claire Area Stars got balanced scoring and a shutout by goalie Naomi Stow as they blanked the #5 seed Hayward Lady Hurricanes 3-0 in the first game of the day at 'Hockey Day and Night' at Eau Claire Hobbs Ice Arena.
The sectional 1 semifinal match started out slow, with no scoring in the first. The closest call was when Hayward's Jerzy Petit was wide left on her semi-breakaway attempt late in the stanza. Shots were 13-6 in the first.
The Stars got on the board early in the second to open the scoring.
Lady Canes goalie Emma Quimby stopped an initial shot but the puck squirted to her left. Before she could cover it, Ally Wagner tapped home the rebound from near the right post to make it 1-0, Stars. Charlotte Akervik had an assist on the play just 1:42 in.
Three mid-period power plays (one for Hayward, two for ECA) went by the wayside before the Stars scored even strength late in the period.
Lauren Carmody got past the Hayward defense and pitchforked a shot into the upper lefthand corner of the net over Quimby's shrugged blocker to make it 2-0. Akervik had the only assist on the goal with 1:18 left.
The Stars had a 19-5 shot margin over the Lady Canes in the period.
Ava Kison accounted for the final score in the third period with her goal from the low left side with 4:49 left. Paige Ruppert got credit for an assist.
Shots in the period were 9-4, favor Stars. Quimby—recently named 'All Independent' player of the year—was magnificent, stopping 38 shots in the contest, but Stow was not bad herself, keeping all 15 shots out of the net to earn the win.
Hayward finishes the campaign with a mark of 12-10-4, while ECA improves to 19-5.
The defending state champs will take on Hudson Saturday night at 7pm at the Chippewa Area Ice Arena for the right to move on to state.