Goal offers hope, but Edge’s late flurry is too much
MEDFORD GIRLS HOCKEY
Despite being outshot 47-1 through two periods, the Medford Raiders found themselves down by one early in the third and right in their season-opening game with the Northern Edge Co-op Monday night.
But the Edge had the stronger legs down the stretch and pulled away for a 5-1 win.
It was the first win in three tries this season for the co-op of players from Rhinelander, Antigo, Lakeland, Three Lakes and Wabeno.
The Raiders, on the other hand, felt encouraged about their opening effort at the Simek Recreation Center.
“We had only eight skaters and they worked their tails off,” Medford co-head coach Jenna Wieting said. “We were really impressed. Saige (Duesing) just did a super job in the net. She really played an outstanding game. We were right in the game until we got a little heavy in the legs and stopped moving our feet in the third period and gave up a couple of quick ones.”
Duesing, a sophomore, finished with 57 saves as the Northern Edge finished with a 62-6 advantage in total shots. While Duesing did her job, her teammates helped her out by limiting the oddman rushes, rebounds and point-blank shots she had to face. The Raiders used a three-skater rotation of senior Kristen Brandner, Delaney Hraby and Sophia Brunner on defense.
“They did play a good game,” Wieting said. “They did a super job in stopping their rushes. I don’t remember a time where they beat us down the ice and had breakout opportunities where it was one on zero or where they were just going against the goalie. That is something that can happen frequently. But that didn’t happen. The girls just did a stellar job of hanging in there.”
The Edge outshot Medford 26-1 in the first period, but the visitors’ only goal came at the 14:05 mark on a blue-line shot from Caitlyn Fesnick that took a bad bounce past Duesing. Callie Johnson had the assist. Medford didn’t get a secondperiod shot while the Edge got 21 shots off. Only one found the net and that came at 12:13 when Isabelle Boyer won a faceoff and pushed the puck to Kate Vizanko for the goal.
Things tightened 1:43 into the third period when Raider sophomore Eryka Seidl was at the right place at the right time. A poor clearing attempt out of the defensive zone by the Edge put the puck on Seidl’s stick just to the left of goal tender Ellie Stank and Seidl punched it past her. Suddenly, Medford was a play away from tying the game.
“If we could’ve gotten a second goal, I think it really could’ve changed the end of the game,” Wieting said. “I think that could’ve gotten the Edge down, knowing they’ve had all of these shots yet we were right there. Eryka seems to have a knack for being at the right place at the right time. She showed that last year too, just finding a way to be in the right spots.”
That second goal never came and the visitors got their momentum back starting with a power-play goal from Vizanko at 6:08 that was assisted by Boyer. That goal followed a tripping infraction that was the only penalty called in the game. Johnson scored off assists from Boyer and Vizanko at 9:47 and Vizanko went top shelf after a nice drop pass from Johnson to close the scoring at 13:44.
Medford had just nine players in uniform after finding out right before game time they’d be without sophomore center Skylier Krueger.
“Every player played in a lot of places,” Wieting said. “Not one single player told me –– and a lot of them were putting in double and triple shifts –– that they needed to rest. All of them just did very well.”
The Raiders have a busy week ahead that starts tonight, Thursday, with a 7 p.m. face-off at the Simek Center against the Wisconsin Valley Union, a co-op that includes Marshfield, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids and several other small area schools. The Northland Pines co-op is in town for a 6 p.m. game on Tuesday before the Raiders head to Antigo Dec. 17 for a rematch with the Northern Edge.