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Fusion eye postseason, earn No. 3 seed in sectional

St. Croix Valley Fusion sophomore Taylar Meier (15) has her shot deflected by Hudson's Molly Schuett in the first period of the third-ranked Fusion's 5-1 loss to the top-ranked Raiders Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
St. Croix Valley senior Jordan Erickson (18) beats Hudson's Hana Hellmers (8) and Angela Huepfel (3) to a loose puck behind the Raider net in the Fusion's 5-1 loss to the Raiders Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

Despite dropping their final two games of the regular season last week the St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team remained the third-ranked team in the state in the Wisconsin Prep Hockey poll. Unfortunately, both teams ranked ahead of the Fusion are not only in the same conference as them, but also the same sectional.

That means St. Croix Valley (17-7-0 overall) will open postseason play as the No. 3 seed when they host No. 6 Superior (5-17-0) Thursday, Feb. 15, at 5:30 p.m. at River Falls' Wildcat Centre. The winner will advance to take on either No. 7 Chippewa Falls (5-16-2) or No. 2 Eau Claire (20-2-0) in a sectional semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 20, at the home of the higher seed.

No. 4 Hayward (10-12-0) and No. 5 Somerset/New Richmond (9-10-2) will square off in the first round for the right to face top-seeded Hudson (20-2-0) in the other sectional semifinal. The sectional title game is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 24, in Hudson.

Last Tuesday, Jan. 30, the top-ranked Raiders clinched the Big Rivers Conference title with a 5-1 victory over the Fusion behind a hat trick from Minnesota State University-Mankato recruit Anna Wilgren.

St. Croix Valley's only goal of the game came off the stick of Kamryn Jacobs on a power play with 25 seconds remaining in the second period to make the score 4-1. Katy Anderson and Taylar Meier assisted on the goal. Fusion goalie Sydney Seeley finished with 37 saves as Hudson outshot St. Croix Valley, 42-19.

Saturday, Feb. 3, the Fusion dropped a 3-1 decision at Onalaska despite outshooting the Hilltoppers, 27-19.

Anna Albrightson scored the only goal of the first period, assisted by Meier, to stake the Fusion to a 1-0 lead but Onalaska scored twice in the second period and again in the third to post the 3-1 win. Olivia Klund finished with 16 saves for St. Croix Valley.

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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