Raiders get a rare chance to end on winning note with rescheduled DH
MEDFORD-RIB LAKE GIRLS HOCKEY
A mid-January snowstorm wiped out a day of girls hockey at the Simek Center, but also allowed for the Medford Raiders to play a rescheduled doubleheader with the Beaver Dam Co-op on Saturday and end the 2019-20 season on a high note.
Just hours after the Raiders were handled 15-2 by the defending state champion Fox Cities Stars, Medford-Rib Lake earned its third and fourth wins of the season over the Golden Beavers 11-5 and 11-0 to finish the season 8-15 in varsity play.
Beaver Dam finished winless in 22 games.
“It was nice. When I decided to reschedule these games that was my idea,” Raiders’ head coach Jenna Wieting said about being able to finish on a winning note. “Normally we end up playing a powerhouse team in the playoffs and it’s tough. It makes it even more tough ending the season like that. So I wanted to get something where, if at least we didn’t win, it was a good competitive couple of games that were probably closer, probably more fun for the girls.”
While their legs may have been a little dead after playing three games in less than 24 hours, the Raiders had fun.
In game one, senior Emily Schafer padded her state lead in goals scored with six, while Kyla Kennedy and Kristen Brandner notched five assists apiece in the Raiders’ 11-5 win.
This was a competitive contest until the middle of the second period when the Raiders pulled away from a 4-3 lead. They took a 7-4 lead into the third and slammed the door by outscoring the Golden Beavers 4-1 in the third.
Schafer scored the Raiders’ first five goals. Kennedy had assists on the first three, while Brandner added assists on goals two through five.
Schafer’s goal 8:33 into the second period answered goals by Beaver Dam’s Abby Okon and Riley Smith that had cut the lead to one. Just 1:20 later, Kiersten Crass scored off assists from Brandner and Kennedy to widen the lead to three.
Emma Anderson scored for the Beavers at 12:43, but Schafer’s powerplay goal at 14:13, assisted by Delaney Hraby, got the lead back to three.
Hraby, Skylier Krueger, Kennedy and Eryka Seidl all scored goals in the third period to put it away.
Alex Nicks, starting in goal for the first time in over a month after going through a bout with knee soreness, picked up nine saves to get the win. Medford committed just two penalties and converted on two power plays.
Saige Duesing, who had filled in for Nicks, got game two started with a goal off assists from Schafer and Brandner 4:40 in and that sparked the offense to its 11-0 win. The Raiders scored five firstperiod goals, two in the second and four more in the third.
Schafer finished with three goals and three assists, Kennedy had a hat trick and an assist, Seidl scored twice and Crass had three assists.
“The girls did well, working really good together,” Wieting said. “We mixed people around. There were only a few that stayed in their same spots the whole day. We moved Emily to defense for the second two periods of the first game and started the second game that way. She did a good job back on defense. We moved Kiersten back on defense, she wanted to try it. She did pretty good. Delaney moved up on offense, she’s been practicing offense during practice a lot and she’s been looking really good. So we thought we’d try it. Might as well start playing around with things for next year. Alex did pretty well. We’re definitely glad that she was able to come back after her injury.”
Nick collected 12 saves in game two to earn her second shutout of the season.
Schafer and Kennedy both scored twice in the first period to help Medford build its early 5-0 lead. Hraby and Seidl scored just 34 seconds apart at the 38-second and 1:12 marks to make it 7-0 in the second period.
Kennedy capped her hat trick by defl ecting a tough-angled shot off goalie Karlee Albert 5:16 into the third period. Just 17 seconds later, Seidl jammed in a rebound goal with assists from Duesing and Hraby. Sisters Kristen Brandner and Alyssa Brandner teamed up for the 10th goal with Alyssa getting the assist. Schafer took a centering pass from Kennedy and closed the scoring at 10:58.
Medford put 30 shots on goal with Albert getting 19 saves.
The three games in 24 hours was a welcome change after the Raiders went through a rare February break where they didn’t play for nearly three weeks.
“It was really weird,” Wieting said. “We’ll hopefully try to schedule some games in that stretch next year. It just kinda fell that way this year. It was not good, but in hindsight it was OK because we had a bunch of kids that were sick in that stretch so we were able to take a little bit of practice time off just to try to get them healthy. We have a small group to begin with so when we have a couple people gone in practice, it makes it really challenging to try to do anything very productive, besides individual skills which we have to work on.”
Saturday’s games marked the end of the prep hockey careers for Schafer, Nicks and Crass.
“Our seniors this year, I’m really going to miss,” Wieting said. “Emily Schafer was an offensive powerhouse this year, Kiersten always smiling on the bench and trying hard and Alex always trying her best, in net or skating out she always did what we needed her to. (Friday) night she skated out because we wanted the one extra skater vs. Fox Cities and she was totally fine with that doing whatever she needs to do for the team. Definitely a good competitive group.”
Stars 15, Raiders 2
The seventh-seeded Raiders were no match for the 16-school Fox Cities Co-op, who scored eight goals in the first period and cruised to a 15-2 win Friday night.
The Stars advanced to a Tuesday sectional semifinal against the Green Bay Area Ice Bears, which they won 5-1. Fox Cities will play the Central Wisconsin Strom in Friday’s sectional final.
Medford got its first goal 11:41 into the third period from Krueger, a freshman defenseman. Schafer had the assist. Schafer scored with one second left in the game with assists from Crass and Kennedy.
“We played well,” Wieting said. “The girls played well and they tried. We did as well as we could as far as I can say. It was tough. They have a full bench plus 10-12 sitting not on the bench. It was tough, very tough.”
Annika Horman scored four of Fox Cities’ eight first-period goals, while Kourtney Koster had two in the first and the first goal of the team’s four-goal second period.
Duesing got the start and had 36 saves in two periods of work. Nicks took over in the third and stopped five of the eight shots she faced.