Stars align for the future
With a 13-0 win posted earlier this season against Badger Lightning, the Western Wisconsin Stars knew their chances were pretty good heading into Saturday's rematch with the Lightning.
The Stars' coaches thought the best utilization of the rematch was to get the team's younger players as much ice time as possible. They were able to achieve that and still come away with a 9-2 win in Saturday's game played at Baraboo.
The game got off to a bit of an off kilter start when only one official showed up for the game. The Lightning coaches scrambled and were able to come up with two more officials, but it set the tone for a chaotic first period. The Stars scored first on a goal by defenseman Mykenzie Patten, but the Lightning came back with two goals, 11 seconds apart, to take a 2-1 lead.
Stars coach Bob Huerta said the goals might have helped his team pick up its intensity. From that point on, the Stars were able to outscore the Lightning 8-0.
A priority for the coaches was getting a line of freshman forwards major ice time. Freshmen Brooke Motz, Brecken Styles and Emma Larkowski saw their most varsity time so far. Huerta said the coaches are trying to keep the line together so they can progress as a cohesive group for the future. The coaches rewarded their efforts this season by the trio of freshmen starting the game.
"We got that line out every other shift. I was impressed with their play. It's a step forward," Huerta said.
The scoring was well balanced throughout the team. Senior Grace Klein and sophomore Jade Williams both scored twice, with Patten, Ellie Brice, Bailey Williams, Ally Dahlberg and McKenzie Mike each scoring once. Brice and Klein scored late in the first period to give the Stars a 3-2 break at the intermission. The Stars poured in four goals in the second period to take charge in the game.
With the win, the Stars' record stands at 8-6-1. Their next game will be next Tuesday, when they host the Chippewa Falls-Menomonie co-op team at 7 p.m. at the Somerset Ice Arena.