The parking lot at Chippewa Area Ice Arena was stuffed full for the 4:00pm sectional 1 final game. Coming into the game, Hudson had defeated Eau Claire (ECA) twice on the season. However, ECA was still considered the ‘favorite’ heading into the game. Not only is ECA the defending state champions, but they also have two Division I commits on their team- Ava Kison and Charlotte Akervik.
Hudson Raiders starting line up:
#1 Alayna Kunshier G
#14 Rose Giblin D
#19 Sydney Hendricks D
#28 Nikki Olund F
#12 Quinn Winkoski F
#15 Dani Robson F
Eau Claire Area Stars starting line up:
#31 Naomi Stow G
#17 Emmie Verhaagh D
#8 Charlotte Akervik D
#2 Madison Schwengler F
#20 Lauren Carmody F
#15 Cameron Carmody F
The first period was filled with a lot of nervousness on both benches. The puck was treated like a ‘hot potato,’ which led to several turn-overs and icings within the period.
The first shot of the game didn’t happen until about 1:30 into the seventeen-minute period. Hudson dumped it in on net and went for a quick change. It wasn’t until 11:50 that the first quality scoring chance happened. Charlotte Akervik grabbed the puck in the D zone and skated it end to end to the offensive zone, she escaped at the top of the circles and found her D partner for a quick shot on net. ECA had traffic but the rebound was deflected away by Alayna Kunshier.
Five minutes later Hudson had a missed opportunity on a back door play and just 15 seconds after that, Akervik was given a slight breakaway pass but the puck began to roll and she lost control. At 1:46, Hudson’s Dani Robson took a slashing penalty to give ECA their first power play of the game. After 40 seconds of domination on the powerplay, ECA received a call for being in the crease leading to a faceoff outside of their offensive zone. With about a minute left of play, ECA set up their powerplay again but failed to create any real scoring chances.
1st Period Statistics:
ECA came out for the second period buzzing. With just 0:14 left on the power play, they took control of the game for the next couple of minutes. Hudson didn’t have their first possession of the puck until 15:10.
At 13:32, ECA junior and assistant captain, Cameron Carmody, took a low shot from the point. Her sister, Lauren, had her stick on the ice and deflected the puck past the Raiders goalie to put the ECA Stars up 1-0.
Hudson didn’t lose hope- and neither did their fans. It seemed like every time Sydney Hendricks touched the puck, the crowd assumed a goal was on the way…and after the show Hendricks put on in the section 1 semi-final earlier this week, they have every reason to believe that.
At 10:57 ECA flipped a puck past a Hudson defender and onto the net. Kunshier put her glove above her head to attempt to catch the puck but it dropped into the net. The Stars were sure that they had scored and began celebrating but because the refs were behind the play, they could not call it a goal. The score remained 1-0.
Not even a minute and a half later, ECA had a 3 on 0 in the offensive zone. The puck was mishandled, there was a scrum in front of the net. Hudson lucked out and got a whistle due to an ECA hand-pass.
The Stars again, controlled the next couple of minutes. At 7:25, an ECA forward hopped off of their bench and snuck behind a Raider defenseman. A perfectly placed pass sent the Stars on a breakaway that resulted in a shot and a miss. Twenty-two seconds later, Madison Schwengler of ECA received a tripping penalty to give Hudson a chance to tie the game. Hudson had a few good scoring opportunities but couldn’t connect on any of them. During this two-minute Raider powerplay, Hudson had zero shots, while ECA had two. Not only did Akervik lead the ECA penalty-kill to success but she also played a huge role in keeping the one-goal lead for the remainder of the third period. Akervik has incredible hockey sense and at times, would ‘ice’ the puck to get a change and purposely aim to hit a Hudson stick or skate to prevent an icing whistle.
Hudson was given their second powerplay of the game at 1:36 when Annika Olson was called for interference during a battle in the ECA defensive zone against Hudson’s Quinn Winkoski. Hudson’s powerplay hopes quickly diminished when Winkoski was called for a high-sticking penalty just 9 seconds later. The remainder of the period was played 4-on-4.
2nd Period Statistics:
The third period started and for the first several minutes, ECA was dominating the game. However, at 9:45 C. Carmody was called for a checking penalty. Hudson set up their powerplay in an overload and slowly worked into an umbrella. Hendricks had the puck at the top of the umbrella, looked off the ECA penalty killer and made a pass to Rose Giblin. Giblin connected with Nikki Olund, who was set up on the back door, to tie the game up at 8:34.
The game remained tied up until 4:48 when ECA had a 2-on-1 opportunity. An ECA forward passed to her linemate coming into the ECA offensive zone and the pass was picked off by a Hudson defenseman and the puck deflected to the corner. Both ECA forwards were caught below the goal line when Hudson’s Olund grabbed the puck and found Hendricks cherry-picking off of a line-change at the red line. Hendricks drove the net and scored short side to give the Raiders a lead for the first time in the game. Hudson sealed the deal at 3:32 when a bad-angle shot was thrown on net by Robson and cleaned up by Winkoski.
With 1:56 left in the third period, ECA had a faceoff just outside of their defensive zone and took a time-out. The time-out was ineffective as Hudson played a strong game of ‘red-line and deep’ and kept two players on Kison and Akervik. A strong third period gave Hudson a 3-1 win over the defending state champs, the Eau Claire Area Stars.
Overall, both teams played a hard-fought game and ECA has nothing to be ashamed of. My best advice to the girls whose season ended tonight is to remember the moment and channel your feelings of defeat into hardwork in the upcoming season. Hockey legend, JP Parise once told me, “your highs can’t be too high and your lows can’t be too low [in hockey]”.
3rd Period Statistics: