New Richmond girls win Wisconsin Rapids hockey tournament titleThe Bay Area Ice Bears have been the roadblock that has prevented the New Richmond girls hockey team from winning the Wisconsin Rapids tournament the past three years.
The Bay Area Ice Bears have been the roadblock that has prevented the New Richmond girls hockey team from winning the Wisconsin Rapids tournament the past three years.
This year’s Tigers weren’t going to let that happen again. The Tigers put together a huge defensive effort to win this year’s Wisconsin Rapids tournament, defeating the Ice Bears 1-0 in the championship game Saturday afternoon. In the opening round of the tournament on Saturday morning, the Tigers opened up their offense to top the Fox Cities Stars 6-1.
Defeating the Ice Bears was a huge step for the Tigers, who lost to Bay Area in overtime in last year’s title game. The Ice Bears have already defeated area teams Hudson, Chippewa Falls and Superior. Tiger coach Emily Dabrowski said this win will earn the Tigers state-wide respect and it will be a huge lift for the team’s confidence. Dabrowski said the team’s attitude is vastly different from last year, when some early setbacks put a season-long damper on the team’s enthusiasm.
“They can skate with anybody out there this year,” Dabrowski said. “They questioned their ability last year. This year they’ve got the talent to go out and do something about it.”
The only goal of the championship was scored by Tiger defenseman Ashley Dusek 10 minutes into the game, when she drilled home a rebound from the slot. The unassisted effort was her fourth goal in the team’s first three games.
Dabrowski said the Tiger defensemen have the green light to carry the puck if they see open ice. Dusek and team captain Tiffany Olek have become quite skilled at leading the rush.
The Tigers were outshot 32-11 in the championship game, but senior goalie Baily Lund wouldn’t crack under the pressure. After an even first period, the Tigers were outshot 15-1 in the second period.
“Baily had a fantastic weekend,” Dabrowski said. “She’s getting her angles down and she’s always working on her positioning.”
The win over Fox Cities showed the progress the Tigers are making at the offensive end of the rink. Senior Emilee Wolf, who has moved to forward this season, scored her first career hat trick. Dusek scored two goals and Kaylee Bebeau scored once.
Dabrowski said Wolf approached the coaches before the season about making the switch from defense to forward.
“She really wants to be a leader up front. She’s adapted to it well,” Dabrowski said of the switch.
After the bus ride to Rapids, it took the Tigers some time to find their skating legs in the first period. Lund was able to make 15 saves to keep the Tigers in contention. With 35 seconds left in the period, Wolf scored to give the Tigers momentum heading into the locker room. The Tigers built on that momentum when Dusek scored one minute into the second period.
Fox Cities got a power play goal midway through the second period. In the third period, the Tigers had one of their best offensive periods in some time, scoring four even-strength goals. Wolf scored two, with Alli Wielinski recording her second and third assists of the game. Bebeau and Dusek finished the scoring.
The Tigers opened their season last Tuesday at home against Chippewa Falls. Chippewa Falls earned a 4-3 win in the game.
The Tigers started slowly, with Chippewa Falls getting the only goal of the first period. The Tigers played vastly better in the final two periods, but they couldn’t take the lead away from the Cards.
After the slow start, the Tigers still outshot Chippewa Falls 23-18. The Tigers got goals from Olek, Dusek and Bebeau in the game.
The schedule is demanding for the Tigers. On Thursday they will play at Superior at 7 p.m. The Tigers will play at Hobbs Ice Center in Eau Claire at 5 p.m. next Tuesday, facing the Eau Claire-Altoona cooperative team.