Tiger girls hockey tests another top state team
Again, the New Richmond girls skaters battled evenly with a top tier opponent for much of their game.
This time it was the Tigers facing the Eau Claire Area Stars at Hobbs Ice Arena in Eau Claire last Thursday. The Tigers and Stars battled evenly until the final seven minutes of the game. In those final seven minutes the Stars scored three times to beat the Tigers, 4-1.
The loss leaves the Tigers with an 8-11-1 record.
The seeding for the WIAA girls hockey sectional tournament will be determined this Sunday. The Tigers are in a difficult spot when it comes to seeding.
Three of the eight teams in this sectional bracket are currently ranked among the top 10 teams in the state. The St. Croix Valley Fusion is 17-2-1 and is considered one of the top two teams in the state. Hayward and Chippewa Falls are also in the top 10, though the Tigers have beaten Chippewa Falls once this season.
Eau Claire is on the fringe of becoming ranked. The Stars are currently 11-6-2.
Those teams will likely get the top four spots in the bracket. The situation for the Tigers is muddled further because they have lost to Hudson and Burnett County. The Tigers have a better record than both of those teams, so it will be decided whether overall record or head-to-head competition carries more weight in the voting process.
A win against Eau Claire would have given the Tigers an argument for the fourth spot in the bracket. For much of the game, it appeared the Tigers might get the win.
The Tigers got the only goal of the first period. Senior Chelsea Singerhouse appears to be regaining her scoring touch. She got the goal after a nice bit of quick puck movement. Tiffany Olek and Shelby Rolland moved the puck quickly to Singerhouse in the slot. She snapped the puck into the upper corner of the cage for her fifth goal of the season.
The Stars tied the score with 3:35 left in the second period. The score remained 1-1 until seven minutes were left in the game. That's when the Stars broke the tie. And within three minutes, the Stars added two more goals.
Tiger coach Emily Howlett said the difference in the game ended up being the Stars' ability to get several shots in a flurry in front of the Tiger net. She said the Tigers weren't tying up Stars players well, so Tiger goalie Tina Montpetit was facing a dizzying quantity of shots. Montpetit made 43 saves.
"Tina had one of her best nights. She definitely kept us in the game," Howlett said.
The Tigers now have to wait until Feb. 8 before they play again. The two-week stretch of games is part of a schedule that hasn't exactly been user friendly for the Tigers. On Feb. 8 the Tigers host Hudson, starting a stretch of four games in eight days to end the regular season.