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Girls Hockey: Fusion cooled off by defending state champs

St. Croix Valley Fusion goalie Sydney Seeley stops the point-blank shot by Eau Claire's Paige Ruppert but the puck flutters over her pads and under her arm for a Star's power play goal in the Fusion's 2-0 loss to the defending state champs Thursday night, Jan. 10, in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

Eau Claire’s power play goal late in the second period proved to be the difference as the defending state champion Stars defeated the St. Croix Valley Fusion 2-0 Thursday night, Jan. 10, in River Falls.

The loss snapped the Fusion's six game winning streak and created a logjam at the top of the Big Rivers Conference standings with St. Croix Valley, Eau Claire Area and Hudson all with one loss.

Fusion goalie Sydney Seeley and her Star's counterpart, Naomi Stow, were unflappable with Stow stopping all 20 shots she faced and Seeley making 26 saves through nearly two full periods of scoreless hockey. But a Fusion penalty put Eau Claire on a power play with 1 minute, 20 seconds left in the second period and Eau Claire's Paige Ruppert fired a point-blank shot into Seeley's pads that fluttered up and under Seeley's right arm for the deciding goal.

The Fusion, meanwhile came up empty on six power play opportunities, including two that overlapped resulting in 5-on-3 advantages for 41 seconds in the first period and 1:03 in the second. Seeley was pulled for an extra skater late and the Stars added an empty-net goal to make the final 2-0. Seeley finished with 35 saves.

The third-ranked Stars improved to 13-3-0 overall while the seventh-ranked Fusion dropped to 11-4-0. The Fusion will visit Red Wing for a nonconference game Saturday, Jan. 12.

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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