The next two games for the Western Wisconsin Stars will both be at Hayward.
The local girls hockey cooperative team will end its regular season this Saturday at 11 a.m. with a game at Hayward. The Stars will head to Hayward again on Thursday, Feb. 15, with a 7 p.m. clash with the Hurricanes in the opening round of the WIAA girls hockey playoffs.
The Stars received the fifth seed in the sectional seeding, which was completed Sunday, Feb. 4 while Hayward received the fourth seed. The winner of the Feb. 15 game will advance to the sectional semifinals Tuesday, Feb. 20, at top-seeded Hudson.
The Stars are coming off a busy week where they faced Holy Angels Academy, Superior and Black River Falls. The won one of the three games, but it was the most important of the three. The Stars defeated Superior 4-2 last Thursday on the Stars' home ice at the Somerset Ice Arena. A loss to Superior likely would have dropped the Stars lower in the sectional seeding bracket. The win snapped a four-game winless stretch for the Stars.
The Stars weren't shining early in Thursday's game, falling behind 2-1 in the first six minutes of the action. Grace Klein scored the Stars' only goal of the first period. The Stars took control in the second period. Jade Williams tied the game, scoring on an end-to-end rush on a power play. The Stars took the lead when Sydney Hahn scored from between the circles with 46 seconds remaining in the period. Williams scored another power play goal in the third period for the Stars' final goal.
Catherine Magler stopped 35 of 37 shots she faced to get the win in goal for the Stars.
Stars coach Bob Huerta said the team should be playing with more confidence than it has been showing recently.
"Sometimes, they doubt their skillset. All these girls have won a state championship at the youth level. When they play the right way, they can play with anybody," he said.
The Stars went to Black River Falls on Saturday, losing 5-2. This game had no bearing on the Stars' seeding position, so the coaches used it to give the younger players on the roster a chance to prove themselves.
"We wanted to put our players out there against a good team and see what they could do," Huerta said.
Both of the Stars' goals were scored by junior Allie Stock, with Hahn assisting on both of them.
When the Stars went to Holy Angels last Tuesday, they were in for a bit of an awakening.
"It was probably the most physical game we played all year," Huerta said. "They were a fast team. They had a lot of talented players."
The Stars trailed 4-0 after two periods, then scored three times in the final period. Williams, Klein and Ellie Brice recorded the goals.