MADISON — Sure, Abigail Stow is going to get a lot of the headlines — including my own game story — from her four-goal show in her first state tournament game. That resulted in a 5-2 ECA Stars win over Central Wisconsin on Friday morning in the state semifinals.
But this Stars team is loaded and had plenty of other big-time performances on Friday.
For starters, the defense allowed just 12 shots on goal the entire game. Many of them came from out on the perimeter, and the Stars blocked a ton of shots.
“I think one of the things we’ve done a really nice job of is getting in shooting lanes, and tonight we did that,” coach Tom Bernhardt said. “Especially early on in that first period. There were a lot of shots and opportunities that the Storm had that never made it to the net.”
Also, the Stars had four penalties and spent eight minutes in the box, but they were able to clear a lot of pucks the length of the ice. The defensemen core of Akervik and Arbs played very well, while Annika Olson, Paige Rodriguez and Emmie Verhaagh also all played well.
On the penalty kill in the third period, Ava Kison danced with the puck behind Central Wisconsin’s net for almost 30 seconds to kill off the penalty.
“We were trying to not get extended on penalty kill and stay strong in our box formation and just get pucks out,” Akervik said.
Lauren and Cameron Carmody were active in the neural zone and got a lot of sticks on pucks. And Naomi Stow did her job in net, stopping 10 of 12 pucks.
“We had a great game as a group today defensively and played smart with the puck down low in the offensive zone,” Bernhardt said.
The bottom line is, while Stow’s four goals were sensational to see in person, the Stars are going to the state title game because they are deep all across the board.