MERRILL — Before the snow fell on Tuesday, Nov. 26, the revamped Northern Edge girls’ hockey co-op was hit by a different kind of Storm.
Despite having more schools and players in its arsenal, the Edge was no match for the Central Wisconsin Storm, falling 11-2 at the Smith Center in Merrill.
The Rhinelander/Antigo and Lakeland/Tomahawk co-ops merged following last season and added a skater from Wabeno on the new-look Northern Edge squad. That still wasn’t enough to fend off the six-school juggernaut of D.C. Everest, Marathon, Merrill,?Mosinee, Wausau East and Wausau West. The Storm has won 10 straight sectional titles and came into the season ranked No. 4 in the Wisconsin Prep Hockey coaches poll.
“They’re a really good team, they’re fast, they move the puck and it was good for us to see it, but obviously we’re not happy with the outcome,” Northern Edge coach Tom Roeser said.
The Storm controlled the puck for most of the game. Their scoring attack started three minutes into the game when Dru Sabatke connected on a slapshot through traffic for a goal, coming on an assist by Kassidy Oliva.
Less than a minute later, Lauren Wincentsen went to the far side of the net and snuck it through for the Storm’s second goal of the game, assisted by Logan Crawford.
“Defensively we weren’t helping (our goalies) out in front,” Roeser said.
Then the Storm struck again, this time by Trinity Foster off passes from Oliva and Wincentsen. The Storm led 3-0.
One of the positives of the game for the Edge came in the second period. After two penalties early on, the Edge had to play a little 5-on-3 hockey down two girls.
The Edge killed off the long power play and managed to keep the score at bay. Roeser said he was pleased with the way it went with little preparation on it.
“The triangle they ran actually looked really good, they kept shots outside, we didn’t give a lot of quality shots up,” he said. “We have not practiced that, we haven’t even touched it, so I was actually pretty impressed with that.”
Three minutes after the Edge killed the power play, Macy Stepan scored an unassisted goal in a fight for the puck in front of the net. She snuck it in the goal and the Storm led 4-0.
With seven minutes to go in the period, the Edge scored their first goal of this new era. Wyndi Saari scored on a power play goal in a scrum at the net, assisted by Madi Losch and Kate Vizanko. The Edge now trailed 4-1.
“It’s always nice to get on the board,” Roeser said. “Wyndi Saari had one in front, just a hard-working goal — rebound, rebound, rebound on a power play.”
It didn’t take long before the Storm was at it again. This time they went on a power play after a high sticking penalty on Evie Leveque.
Stepan went unassisted once again for the goal and a 5-1 lead.
The onslaught continued toward the end of the period. Two goals were scored within a minute of one another. That ended the time in net for starting goalie Alicia Turunen as Roeser made the switch to Anna Maulson. “I thought it was good for both of those goalies to see a team that fast and they worked really well in front of the net,” Roeser said.
Maulson allowed her first goal with one minute to go in the period. It was scored by Kayla Piskula.
Down 8-1, the Edge looked to see if they could find any momentum at all in the third period. Instead, the Storm’s Audrey Ladewig made a shifty move and scored a goal past Maulson. About a minute later, the Storm won a face-off that led to a goal by Sabatke. Samantha Federici added a short-handed goal later in the period to round out the scoring for the Storm, which peppered the Northern Edge net to the tune of 76 total shots. Turunen finished with 46 saves while Maulson had 19.
“We got a goalie competition going on and they’re going to both work for their playing time at the varsity level,” Roeser said.
The Edge scored once more late in the contest as Emily Kassler scored on a breakaway off a pass by Losch.
“We ran our little fly play towards them, thought we might catch them off guard and we did,” Roeser said. “We got a good step on their D and it was a one on zero and Emily did a nice job finishing.”
Up next, the Northern Edge will take on Arrowhead Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Rhinelander Ice Arena. The puck drops at 10 a.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]