Waupaca seniors take center stage
By Greg Seubert
The Waupaca Ice and Expo Center has been kind so far this season to the Wisconsin Valley Union girls’ hockey team.
The Eagles won their first three games of the season at the Expo and hadn’t played there since a 2-1 win Dec. 2 over the Icebergs, a Madison-area team based in Stoughton.
WVU, a co-op team consisting of players from Waupaca and seven other high schools, improved to 13-2-2 on the season and 4-0 at the Expo Jan. 26 with a 6-1 win against Appleton United.
The Eagles followed that up with a 7-0 win over Northland Pines Jan. 27 in Eagle River. WVU also dropped a 3-1 decision Jan. 23 to Black River Falls in Wisconsin Rapids.
WVU 7, Northland Pines 0
Waupaca’s Markie Ash scored two goals and had an assist for the Eagles.
Four other Waupaca players made it into the scoring column as well. Avrey Simonson had a goal and an assist; Kylie Hiddemen added a goal; Cadie Ash chipped in with two assists; and Jamie Slattery added an assist.
WVU outshot Pines 31-17.
WVU 6, App. United 1
Markie Ash led the Eagles with a hat trick that included a pair of goals in the first period and one in the second.
“It’s Wayne Gretzky’s birthday today and she played a little bit like Wayne today in that first period,” coach Dan Bauer said. “Those first two goals were pretty magical. She just has a way to get through people and get to the net. That was fun to see her go out and do well on Senior Night.”
Waupaca’s Anna Ryder added a goal, while Simonson and Cadie Ash had three and two assists, respectively.
“The first period wasn’t our greatest effort,” Bauer said. “I don’t know, it’s just that time of the year where you kind of get into a funk sometimes and the season gets a little long. In the second and third periods, we really played like we had been earlier in the year, so I was real happy with those two periods. It was a good team effort. I thought we brought more energy and worked harder the last two periods and that’s something that I felt we’ve been lacking the last few games.”
The team singled out its five Waupaca seniors – Markie Ash, Simonson, Hiddemen, Slattery and Kara Kohutek – on Senior Night and all five started the game with goalie Pistol Cowden, who stopped 29 of United’s 30 shots.
“We got a chance to play four lines a lot tonight, which is really nice,” Bauer said. “We got a chance to play a lot of seniors and some of them probably haven’t been getting as much ice time as the would like this time of the year.”
Meanwhile, the WVU defense held United’s top scorer, Annika Horman, to one goal.
“I would have liked to see her get a few less looks than she got, but that has to be a combined effort,” Bauer said. “We talked about getting more pressure on her from our first forward coming back and making sure that we keep her to the outside. She got the middle of the ice more than I would have liked to tonight. To keep her to one goal, we’ll take that. That’s a win for us.”
BRF 3, WVU 1
Black River Falls goalie Josie Mathison stopped 39 of the Eagles’ 40 shots.
Zoey Derks scored WVU’s goal in the third period off of an assist from Slattery and Leah Gruen.
The Eagles faced Chippewa/Falls Menomonie Jan. 30 in Marshfield before taking on four state-ranked teams in nine days. WVU will play Rock County Friday, Feb. 2, in Marshfield; face top-ranked Eau Claire Area the following day at Ice Hawks Arena in Stevens Point; play the Central Wisconsin Storm Thursday, Feb. 8, at Greenheck Fieldhouse in Weston; and travel to Hudson Saturday, Feb. 10.
“We have some really tough competition coming up on our schedule,” Bauer said.
The Eagles will wrap up regular season at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, against the Metro Lynx at the Expo.