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Rough week for girls hockey team

It was a rough week for the New Richmond girls hockey team.

The Tigers will have a tough time getting a top seed in the sectional after a 5-1 loss to Hudson last Tuesday. On Friday the Tigers met up with one of the leading contenders for the 2004 state championship, Onalaska, and came out on the losing end of a 5-3 score.

Tiger coach Steve Gehr said the effort against Onalaska was a marked improvement from the showing against Hudson. Four of Onalaska's goals were scored by Ashley Paulson, who is emerging as one of the state's top players.

"She's just an incredible skater," Gehr said. "It wouldn't surprise me to see them in the (state) finals."

The Tigers stayed right with Onalaska through the first two periods. New Richmond's green line of Ashlyne Anderson, Rachel Poppy and Hannah Dove produced two goals in the first period, with Poppy scoring the first goal and Dove the second. The game, played in Somerset, was tied 2-2 after a period.

The game was also tied after two periods, 3-3. Tiger defenseman Erin Dodor scored the second period goal on an assist from Hannah Haffner.

Onalaska was then able to get the final two goals of the game for the win.

Gehr said this was the type of competition the Tigers were looking for, playing well against a top quality opponent.

That's a far cry from what the Tigers got against Hudson. The Raiders got a 2-on-1 break 55 seconds into the game, scoring on their first shot on goal.

The Tigers managed to tie the score at the 6:55 mark of the first period. Poppy got the puck along the boards and fired a pass to the goal crease, where Anderson was parked. The Hudson goalie tried to poke the puck away, but Anderson showed good stickwork to control the puck and snap it into the net.

The first period was played quite evenly, with the Tigers holding a 5-3 edge in shots.

Hudson's game plan was clear early in this game. When the Tigers got the puck into Hudson's zone, the Raider coaches were screaming immediately to ice the puck. The Raiders then were playing for odd-man breaks, trying to use their speed to create scoring chances.

That speed burned the Tigers early in the second period. Hudson scored 3:42 into the period when the Tigers failed to clear the zone.

The Raiders caught the Tigers in a slow line change two minutes later. With all the Tigers bunched up at the bench trying to get on and off the ice, Hudson went down on a 2-on-1 break to make the score 3-1.

Hudson added two goals in the third period to make the score 5-1.

The Tigers outshot Hudson 22-16 and controlled the puck for the majority of the game, but struggled to produce good scoring chances.

"If there's one bright spot, we had a pretty good forecheck," Gehr said.

The Tigers will get another shot at Hudson, playing on the Raiders' ice next Tuesday. The Tigers will then finish the regular season with a pair of games against Superior. They play at Superior on Feb. 14. The Spartans then come to New Richmond on Monday, Feb. 16.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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