The trip to Rhinelander was worthwhile for the Western Wisconsin Stars girls hockey team on Saturday, Dec. 9.
The Stars had a three-and-one-half hour ride home Saturday, plenty of time to savor their 7-1 victory. The Stars were also on the road the night before, playing at Menomonie, tying the Chippewa Falls-Menomonie cooperative team 1-1.
The Rhinelander-based team is named the Northern Edge, and they took a 1-0 lead on a bad-hop goal 2:30 into the action. The Stars were getting plenty of shots, but they didn't get the tying goal until there was three minutes left in the first period. Bailey Williams scored the goal, part of an outstanding weekend she had.
In the second period, the line of Williams, Mackenzie Mike and Ellie Brice took over the game. They combined for all three of the goals in the period, with Mike getting two and Williams one. Stars coach Bob Huerta sees something special brewing with that line combination.
"They're all really fast skaters. They can generate plays off each other," Huerta said. "They seem like they're starting to gel."
The progress continued in the third period. Williams and Mike both scored again to give each of them hat tricks. Bailey's sister, Jade, also scored in the third period, with her score coming while the Stars were short-handed.
The Stars dominated the action in this game, far more than the scoreboard might tell. The Stars outshot the Edge 21-3 in the first period. That gave Huerta the confidence to play every girl on the roster extensively. Each of the three goalies on the team got to play one period. For freshman Maezee Enger, it was her first action in a varsity game.
In Friday's game, it was Bailey Williams that scored the Stars' only goal, midway through the second period. Williams alertly saw the opponents making a line shift. She raced down the ice and was able to beat the CF-M goalie. The CF-M goal came with 2:37 left in the game.
The Stars will play their first home game of the season this Saturday at the Somerset Ice Arena. At 6 p.m. they will host the Badger Lightning, a team from the Baraboo-Mauston area.