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Fusion rallies fall short

The third-ranked St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team shut out seventh-ranked Wisconsin Valley Union, 5-0, before dropping a pair of one-goal heartbreakers to unranked teams at the three-day Culvers Cup last week in Madison.

Sophomore Sydney Seeley recorded her fourth shutout of the season against Wisconsin Valley Union Wednesday, Dec. 27. Wisconsin Valley Union is a cooperative team consisting of players from Stevens Point, Amherst, Wisconsin Rapids Assumption, Athens, Iola-Scandinavia, Marshfield, Stevens Point Pacelli, Spencer, Waupaca and Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln high schools.

Superior scored with 21 seconds remaining to steal a 5-4 win over the Fusion the following day before the Brookfield Glaciers (Brookfield Central, Brookfield East, Catholic Memorial, Menomonee Falls, Mukwonago, New Berlin Eisenhower, New Berlin West, Pewaukee, Waukesha North, Waukesha, South, Waukesha West, Wauwatosa East, Wauwatosa West) edged St. Croix Valley, 5-4, in overtime Friday, Dec. 29.

The Fusion dropped back-to-back games for the first time this season and enter the new year with a record of 9-3-0. They will visit second-ranked Eau Claire-Altoona for a Big Rivers Showdown Thursday, Jan. 4, at Hobbs Ice Arena in Eau Claire before a rematch with Superior Saturday, Jan. 6, at 2 p.m. at Wildcat Centre.

After a scoreless first period last Wednesday against Wisconsin Valley Union, Taylar Meier scored a wrap-around goal on a Fusion power play 11:22 into the second period and Maddie Schultz followed with a goal just over a minute later to give the Fusion a 2-0 lead.

Lilly Accola scored on a power play for St. Croix Valley's third unassisted goal 4:32 into the third before Jordan Erickson fed Anna Albrightson at the 7:10 mark for a 4-0 lead. Meier's second goal of the game at 8:14, assisted by Kamryn Jacobs, made the final score 5-0.

Seeley stopped all 19 shots as the Fusion outshot Union, 29-19.

Thursday against Superior the Fusion came back from a 4-2 deficit in the third period to tie the score only to see the Spartans score with 21 seconds remaining to pull out a 5-4 win.

Albrightson scored the only goal of the first period when she buried a low shot off a pass from Jacobs. Katy Anderson also picked up an assist.

Superior scored the next three goals before Jacobs took a pass from Albrightson and beat the Spartan goalie with 2:04 remaining in the second period to make it a 3-2 game after two.

Superior extended its lead to 4-2 four minutes into the third period but the Fusion came storming back with goals from Jacobs, assisted by Meier, with 8:09 remaining, and Albrightson, from Meier and Accola, with 4:16 left to tie the score.

Superior got the game-winner with 21 seconds remaining to advance to Friday's tournament championship game, where they lost to fifth-ranked University School of Milwaukee, 6-2.

St. Croix Valley came back from three goals down in Friday's third place game against Brookfield only to have the Glaciers score 1:42 into overtime to hand the Fusion their second straight loss.

Once again the Fusion struck first with Amber DeLong scoring 1:37 into the game with assists from sister Abbie and linemate Schultz.

The Glaciers made it a 1-1 game after one, then rattled off the next three goals to open up a 4-1 third period lead before the Fusion came storming back.

Schultz started the comeback with back-to-back goals at 7:37 and 11:08 with Abbie DeLong assisting on both scores and Accola helping on the first.

Albrightson scored her fourth goal of the tournament with 2:01 remaining to tie the score, assisted by Maura Laesser, but Brookfield spoiled St. Croix Valley's comeback 1:42 into overtime to earn the win.

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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