Fusion clinch BRC crownThe St. Croix Valley Fusion is the only girls’ hockey champion the Big Rivers Conference has ever known.
By: Bob Burrows, River Falls Journal
The St. Croix Valley Fusion is the only girls’ hockey champion the Big Rivers Conference has ever known.
The Fusion made sure of that fact last week by defeating Chippewa Falls, 2-0, and Hudson, 1-0, to win the BRC title for the second year in a row, the only two years the conference has sanctioned girls hockey.
The two wins give the Fusion a record of 7-0-0 in conference play and improved their overall mark to 17-0-1. They are 15-0-0 in their two-year existence in the BRC and 37-1-1 overall in the last two years with their only loss to Chippewa Falls in last season’s sectional final game.
St. Croix Valley earned a bit of revenge for that loss by completing a season sweep of the Cardinals with a 2-0 victory last Tuesday in Baldwin.
Alice Cranston opened the scoring when she backhanded a shot past Cardinal goalie Kiara McChesney at the 12:30 mark of the first. Cranston dug the puck out of the corner and got it to Tori Klingler at the point. Klingler slid a pass to Darcy Behringer who got the puck back to Cranston in the slot for the goal.
After a scoreless second period, Nikki Plunkett made the final 2-0 midway through the third with assists from Lily Cranston and Tanis Klingler.
Fusion goaltender Devin Roen made 13 saves to record her 10th shutout of the season as the Fusion outshot the Cardinals 46-13.
“It was a great win,” head coach Matt Cranston said. “These two teams battle very hard and are very physical, especially around the net.”
The two teams combined for six penalties in the third period, all of which were killed off successfully.
“One of the keys to the win was killing off the penalties,” Cranston said. “They have a very effective power play.”
Saturday night at Wildcat Centre in River Falls, the Fusion scored the only goal of the game when Lily Cranston picked off a pass in front of the Raider net and buried it while Hudson was on a power play midway through the second period.
Roen was once again perfect in goal, posting her 11th shutout of the season, as the Fusion outshot the Raiders 39-15.
“It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win,” Coach Cranston said. “The Hudson girls played a great game and worked hard, and Alise (Hudson goalie Alise Riedel) was great in the nets. We were fortunate to come away with a win.”
The Fusion have two more regular season games — Thursday at Menomonie and next Saturday, Feb. 14, in Wisconsin Rapids. They are virtually assured of receiving the top seed in the WIAA regional which means they will open the playoffs Tuesday, Feb. 24.