Fusion sizzle: Win three more to stay unbeaten
The St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team continued to pile up goals last week while winning all three games at its Thanksgiving tournament in Baldwin to improve to 4-0 on the season.
The Fusion blanked the St. Paul Blades (Highland Park co-op) 8-0 in the tourney opener Wednesday, Nov. 22 and topped Rochester Lourdes, 7-5, Friday, Nov. 24 before working overtime to pull out a 6-5 win over the Western Wisconsin Stars (Somerset/New Richmond/Osceola) Saturday, Nov. 25.
St. Croix Valley, ranked sixth in the state in the Wisconsin Prep Hockey preseason poll, is averaging over seven goals a game through the first four games of the season. Their next game is against eighth-ranked Hayward Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m. at Baldwin's United Civic Center.
The Fusion's stiffest test so far came from the Western Wisconsin Stars in the finale of the Thanksgiving Tournament last Saturday in Baldwin. The Stars got a shorthanded goal from Bailey Williams at the 10:37 mark of the third period to tie the score, 5-5, before Anna Albrightson netted the game-winner for the Fusion five minutes into the overtime session.
Albrightson took a pass from Jordan Erickson, walked it out from the corner, and rifled a shot past Stars goaltender Catherine Magler to give the Fusion the 6-5 win.
Erickson scored the only goal of the first period on a Fusion power play before the two teams combined for eight goals in a second period that ended with the Fusion clinging to a 5-4 lead.
Abbie DeLong made it a 2-0 game with an assist from Erickson two minutes into the period before the Stars scored back-to-back goals five minutes apart to tie the score.
St. Croix Valley came right back with an unassisted goal by Taylar Meier and a goal by Kamryn Jacobs, assisted by Albrightson and Madyson Shew, to take a 4-2 lead.
Gabby Bresina sandwiched a goal for St. Croix Valley in between a pair of goals by Western Wisconsin to make it a 5-4 game after two. The Stars scored the only goal of the third period to tie the score but the Fusion dominated the overtime, outshooting the Stars 7-1 before Albrightson ended it.
Magler kept the Stars in the game and finished with 49 saves while Fusion goalie Olivia Klund stopped nine shots.
One day earlier against Rochester Lourdes, Meier and Jacobs scored two goals apiece as the Fusion held off the Eagles for a 7-5 victory.
Meier and Jacobs each scored early power play goals but Rochester got a shorthanded goal late in the period to cut St. Croix Valley's lead to 2-1.
The Eagles tied it up 39 seconds into the second period but Meier and Jacobs struck again 33 seconds apart midway through the period to give the Fusion the lead for good, 4-2.
After another Rochester goal, Amber DeLong made it a 5-3 game after two and Maddie Schultz scored 1:08 into the third to widen the gap to 6-3. Rochester scored 14 seconds later but Lilly Accola answered just 33 seconds after that for St. Croix Valley's seventh and final goal of the game.
Klund finished with 35 saves and tallied an assist in the win as the Eagles outshot the Fusion, 40-25.
"It was a fun game and the girls played great," head coach Matt Cranston said. "We just beat a very good team. Olivia was solid in goal and special teams played great."
It took awhile for St. Croix Valley to get going in its tourney opener the night before Thanksgiving against St. Paul.
Albrightson netted the first goal of the game just over 13 minutes into the contest before Jacobs tallied a shorthanded goal less than two minutes later to give the Fusion a 2-0 lead.
The floodgates opened in the second period as the Fusion put six more goals on the board, with Albrightson and Jacobs finding the back of the net again and DeLong, Meier, Schultz and Accola scoring a goal apiece.
Jacobs and Meier contributed two assists each in the win while Albrightson, Schultz and DeLong each had one. Sophomore goalkeeper Sydney Seeley stopped all eight shots she faced as the Fusion outshot the Blades, 43-8.