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Fusion post two big wins, rematch tonight

St. Croix Valley Fusion sophomore Emma VanDell (15) skates by a pair of ECA Stars before firing a shot on net in the third period of the Fusion’s 6-0 Big Rivers Conference victory over the Stars last Thursday night at Wildcat Centre. (River Falls Journal photos by Bob Burrows)

Fusion post two big wins

Rematch with Hudson set for Thursday

By Bob Burrows

The sixth-ranked St. Croix Valley Fusion picked up a big win when it comes to sectional seeding with a 7-2 victory over the WSFLG Blizzard last Tuesday night before remaining in the hunt for the Big Rivers Conference title with a 6-0 shutout over the Eau Claire-Altoona Stars on Thursday.

The Fusion improved to 13-6-1 overall with the two wins, while Thursday’s victory over the Stars moved them to 3-1-0 in BRC play, one game behind first place Hudson. The Raiders handed the Fusion their only conference loss, 4-1,  three weeks ago but the two teams meet again this Thursday night, Jan. 30, in Hudson.

Last Thursday at Wildcat Centre, Maddie Rowe had four goals and Carlie Christensen stopped all 26 shots she faced to record her fifth shutout of the season in a 6-0 victory over the ECA Stars.

Rowe opened the scoring with an unassisted goal just 1 minute, 47 seconds into the game. Andrea Eliason followed with a goal six minutes later with an assist from Tori Forseth, before Lindsay Veenendall extended the lead to 3-0 at the 10:49 mark with assists from Rachal Anderson and Taylor Magill.

Rowe scored the only goal of the second period at the 9:15 mark, again unassisted, to make it a 4-0 game after two, then finished off her hat trick with another unassisted goal 2:33 into the third period. Rowe’s fourth goal of the game came with 14 seconds remaining, assisted by Eliason, to make the final 6-0.

Last Tuesday in Siren, Veenendall had a goal and three assists, Rowe had a goal and two assists and McKayla Custer scored two goals in a 7-2 St. Croix Valley win.

Custer gave the Fusion a quick 1-0 lead with a goal at the 2:52 mark of the first, assisted by Rowe. The Blizzard answered less than three minutes later before Hanna Zevenbergen scored a power play goal at the 7:26 mark, assisted by Emma VanDell and Rowe, but the Blizzard came right back to tie the score again.

Natalie Gabbert scored for St. Croix Valley with 3:38 remaining in the period, assisted by Rowe and Courtney Kempf, to give the Fusion a 3-2 lead after one.

The second period belonged to the Fusion as they went on to score four unanswered goals. Rowe got things started 30 seconds in, assisted by Eliason, before Custer scored her second goal at the 6:58 mark with an assist from Veenendall.

Christianson picked up her first assist of the season on a goal by Veenendall at the 9:29 mark to extend the Fusion lead to 6-2, before Anderson closed the scoring with 1:06 remaining with assists from Veenendall and Magill.

Christensen finished with 37 saves, including 19 in a scoreless third period, as each team fired 39 shots on goal.

Read more sports in this week's print edition of the River Falls Journal.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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