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Tiger girls hockey team is statebound

New Richmond's girls hockey team is state-bound.

The Tigers won a thriller to qualify for the WIAA Girls State Hockey Championships, winning at Hudson 2-1 in double overtime last Tuesday.

Steph Kendrick scored both of New Richmond's goals in Tuesday's sectional game. She got the game winner 2:29 into the overtime. The puck came free to Kendrick, who skated to the middle of the faceoff circle, where she cut loose with a shot. The Hudson goalie was able to get a piece of the puck, but it deflected off her and into the upper corner of the net.

New Richmond was the first of the four state tournament teams to be decided. Joining the Tigers in the state tournament field are Superior, Onalaska and Fond du Lac.

New Richmond's first game in the state tournament will be this Friday. The opponent in their first game at state will be Superior, with the game starting at 1:15 p.m. New Richmond and Superior played twice within a three-day span in mid-February, with Superior winning on its home ice and the Tigers ending the regular season with a win on their home rink.

The sectional win came after a gut-wrenching test of wills against two teams that are extremely familiar with each other. The first two seasons were a defensive standoff. Hudson held a 9-7 shot edge in the first period and each team was only able to get three shots on goal in the second period.

Hudson scored the first goal of the game. The goal came 2:18 into the third period on a shot that was fired into traffic and deflected off several skates and past Tiger goalie Molly Gehr.

The Tigers answered immediately. The Tigers ran a play on the ensuing faceoff. The faceoff was won directly to Kendrick, who skated in and tucked the puck into the upper right corner of the net. The tying goal came just eight seconds after Hudson had scored.

Though there was no more scoring, the Tigers held an 11-4 margin in shots in the third quarter.

That led to the first eight-minute overtime. The shots were 2-2 in the first OT, though the Tigers were able to keep the puck in Hudson's end of the rink for most of the period.

That led to the second overtime, where Kendrick got the game-winner.

The Tigers finished the game with a 24-18 shots margin. Gehr made 17 saves to get the win in goal for the Tigers.

New Richmond coach Steve Gehr said he felt the team got stronger as the game went on.

"They just gutted this one out," he said. "It was one of those 'rip your guts out' games."

Gehr said one of the areas where the Tigers were most effective was in the defensive zone. He said Tigers took away the center of the rink, making it tough for Hudson to generate many high-quality shots.

The Tigers take a 12-7-1 record to the state tournament.

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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