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Special teams decide Western Wisconsin Stars' game with Hudson

Stars senior center Kaylee Bebeau (left) battles a Hudson player for control of the puck during last Tuesday’s game.

Because of the limits on physical contact, you don’t often see special teams be the deciding factor in a girls hockey game.

Special teams were clearly the pivotal aspect in last Tuesday’s girls hockey game between the Western Wisconsin Stars and Hudson. Six of the seven goals were scored on power plays or while teams were short-handed. Hudson finished with the upper hand, beating the Stars 5-2.

The loss leaves the Stars with a 5-10 record. They have an excellent opportunity for a win this Friday when they play at Viroqua. Viroqua is 0-9 this season and has been outscored by opponents 88-4.

The Stars are also scheduled to host Eau Claire next Monday, in a game that will be played at Somerset, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Stars’ game with Hudson was quite even when the teams were at even strength. There wasn’t a penalty called in the first period, which ended scoreless.

The first goal of the game was the only even-strength goal. Hudson’s Julia Pettee got the goal 2:06 into the second period.

The Stars answered quickly, scoring on the power play less than three minutes later. Stars coach Emily Dabrowski said the girls followed the team’s power play plan perfectly. She said they patiently set up the attack, had good puck movement and got a shot on net. From there, senior Alli Wielinski was perfectly positioned to knock the rebound past Hudson goaltender Nali Mullan.

Wielinski has been one of the Stars’ hottest scorers, moving up to second among the team’s scorers. This was her fifth multiple-point game of the season.

“Alli’s a captain and really has done anything the team has needed,” Dabrowski said.

The second period ended 1-1, but special teams would soon swing the game in Hudson’s favor. Hudson’s Paige Johnson scored 1:01 into the final period. Hudson senior Sydney Squires then took over.

Squires was the fastest player on the ice and her speed in the open ice allowed her to break free for two short-handed goals early in the period.

The Stars did cut the margin to 4-2 when senior Ashley Dusek scored off an assist from Wielinski.

Hudson sealed the win when Johnson scored again with 43 seconds left on the clock.

Stars goalie Tina Montpetit had another stellar game for the Stars, finishing with 36 saves.

Dabrowski said she is hoping the weather settles down soon because it has decimated the Stars’ practice schedule. On most school mornings the Stars practice at 5:30 a.m. With the numerous school cancellations the Stars have had a limited number of practices. And because of the early morning cold weather, many of their practices are held when temperatures in the rink are below zero.

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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