BRF Tiger Hockey scored 3 times in the first period and rode out a 4-1 victory over #8 ranked Fox City Stars Saturday afternoon on home ice.
BRF was able to chase the starting Fox City Stars goalie just 10 minutes into the game following the third unanswered goal. Freshman Savannah Holcomb opened the scoring just one minute into play with her first varsity goal on a rush off assists from Ellie Steinhoff and Ashley Overlien. BRF followed that goal with a second about 5 minutes later when Reghan Yourell followed her shot to the net and scored off her own rebound unassisted on the play. Four minutes later Khloe Spors tallied the third straight goal for the Tigers on a rush into the offensive zone that originated with a pass from defenseman Kaytlin Johnson. Fox Cities responded quickly about a minute later with what would be their only goal of the contest driving home a rebound uncontested on the back side of a play that originated in the Tiger defensive zone. The game settled in for both teams and neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period. Fox Cities clearly showed some sense of urgency in the third period but the Tigers with solid defensive play, good back checking, and another outstanding performance in net by goalie Josie Mathison (24 saves on 25 shots) were able to keep the Stars off the score board. Ashley Overlien finished the scoring for the game with a length of the ice empty net goal to push the final score to 4-1 in favor of BRF, who improved to 6-4-1 on the season, 3-1-1 in their last five games. BRF was unable to convert on their one power play opportunity and held Fox Cities at bay for their 3 power play opportunities including a 6 on 4 situation with only a few minutes remaining in the game as Fox Cities pulled their goalie for the extra attacker.
This win for BRF follows a strong performance in a win vs Hayward. The schedule remains tough as BRF hosts #3 St Croix Fusion (River Falls) this Tuesday at home and visits the current #10 team, last years State Champions, Central WI Storm, Friday night on the road. Our teams' play up and down the ice is improving. We certainly have areas we need to improve, but are beginning to see the outcomes from the hard work being put in at practice and transitioning those learnings and development into game situations. Back checking by our forwards was the best to date and factored into breaking up several offensive rushes, and it provided our defense with the confidence to hold more competitive gaps with attacking players, and removed quality scoring chances from our opposition. We won the battle of the face off circles this game as well, that had been an area of concern for us and our centers have responded with some practice and now experience some of the success that goes with it. Our ability to manage pucks along the wall, be strong in board battles, and make reliable first passes on breakouts were as good as it has been this season. With these improvements, and a couple of hard earned wins, comes some additional confidence and belief that we can compete every time we take the ice. We know we have work to do and the team comes to the rink each day working to improve. The team recognizes it is a season long process and there aren’t any days you can “take off” without potentially negative consequences.