Girls Hockey vs. Brookfield
It was time for a change. After scoring only twice in their previous four games, the Wildcats of the University School co-op girls’ hockey team were aiming to shoot more to score. They did just that at the Ponds in Brookfield on Thursday, February 6th. They defeated the Brookfield Glacier 9-0 in an opening round game of the Eastern Shores Conference Tournament.
Zoe Uihlein, one of the Wildcats’ captains, said, “Today was a really good win for our team going into the weekend. We were able to execute our systems and get a few pucks in the net. I hope we can keep this energy up heading into our next games.”
The Wildcats came out firing and took a total of 27 shots in the encounter. The Glacier’s freshman goalie, Mattie Buckett, stopped 18 of them. Sophomore Sami Stommel, the Wildcats’ goaltender, earned the shutout by turning aside all 7 of the shots that the Glacier shooters managed to take.
The Wildcats wasted no time in scoring. They scored two goals in the game’s first three minutes and five in the first period.
Junior Layne Diffley got the scoring started for the Wildcats. She steadied the puck along the left boards in the Glacier’s zone then passed it to freshman defenseman Lily Valimont at the near point. Valimont flung the puck along the boards. Junior Jordan Bonk snared it in the right corner. She passed it to Diffley who had moved behind the net. Diffley swiftly spun out front and knocked in a wraparound goal. Her game-winning goal came just 1:53 into the game.
Just over 30 seconds later the Wildcats made it 2-0. Junior Zoe Neudorfer slapped the puck away from a Glacier player’s stick on the right boards at the center red line. She collected it and sped down the boards into the Glacier’s zone. She avoided a check then turned toward the net. Skating into the low slot, Neudorfer whipped a wrist shot past Buckett at 2:32.
The Wildcats scored again at 5:26. As the Wildcats forechecked vigorously, Bonk took a shot from the left circle that hit Buckett and bounced toward the right corner. A defender controlled it and tried to backhand it out of the zone. Junior defenseman Julia Schmidt stopped the puck then passed it across the slot to Bonk. Bonk skated around a defenseman so she could fire the puck into the net to put the Wildcats ahead, 3-0.
Midway through the opening period the Wildcats went even further ahead. Bonk blocked a Glacier clear along the right boards. She skated with the puck into the right circle. As a defenseman stepped up to thwart her progress, Bonk passed the puck back to Diffley who was trailing the play. Diffley fired. Buckett stopped it. Diffley snared the rebound and zipped her second shot into the net at 8:33.
The Wildcats scored again at 11:01. In center ice, a Glacier player punched the puck away from Schmidt. Junior Emily Mueller was backing up the play and gained control of the puck along the right boards at the Wildcats’ blue line. Mueller took off like a predator after her prey. She dodged a stick check in center ice and raced onward. Entering the Glacier’s left circle, she stickhandled around another defender then blazed a shot that flew past Buckett.
Stommel did not see much action in the first period, but she brilliantly stopped a breakaway by the Glacier’s high-scoring senior Hadley Malcolmson to keep the net behind her as clear as a cloudless sky.
The Wildcats did not score again until 9:25 of the second period. Neudorfer gathered up a loose puck along the right boards in the Glacier zone and dumped it deep into the left corner. Bonk chased it down. She spun out along the left boards, turned into the high slot and rifled a shot past Buckett to give USM a 6-0 lead.
Bonk’s goal put the clock on running time. The Wildcats still had time to score three more goals.
They made it 7-0 less than a minute later. Forechecking, Neudorfer harassed a Glacier defender who tried to escape to the left boards. Sophomore Molly Guenther met her, swiped the puck from her stick, and skated into the corner. She won a battle for the puck along the boards and skated out with it. She cut across the top of the crease. Buckett jabbed for the puck. As Guenther tripped over the extended stick, she snapped the puck into the net at 10:09.
The Wildcats put two more goals on the scoreboard in the third period. They tallied the first of these at 6:11. Junior defenseman Zoe Uihlein stopped a Glacier clear at the left point. She fired a high shot toward the net. Neudorfer batted the puck from the air to her feet. She spun and fired a low shot into the net.
Sophomore Natalie Epperson scored the Wildcats’ final goal of the evening. She got a loose puck just outside the Glacier blue line, skated down the left side, cut toward the net, deked Buckett, then stuffed the puck in at 12:54.
Dan Carey, the Wildcats’ head coach, commented on the win, “It was a good effort tonight. We put good pressure on the puck, and we were able to take advantage of some opportunities early. Now we need to take the momentum into Saturday.”
The win propelled the Wildcats into the winner’s portion of the lower bracket of the Eastern Shores Conference Tournament. They hope their momentum will help them further improve their 5-11-4 overall record and their 3-2-2 conference mark when they play Arrowhead at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 8th at USM.