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December 13, 2017

12/5/2017 7:32:00 AM
Northern Edge splits games at Lakeshore invite

The Rhinelander/Antigo girls' hockey team picked up its first win of the season Saturday, defeating Warren, Illinois, as it split its games in a weekend invite hosted by the Lakeshore co-op in Kettle Moraine.

The Northern Edge defeated Warren 5-3 a night after being shut out by Viroqua 4-0. Coach Kevin Sandstrom called it a tale of two games for the Edge.

"I think it was a must-win," Sandstrom said of Saturday's game against Warren. "We needed a better focus, a better mindset and we brought it. We brought it right off the bat. Getting that monkey off our back right away is fantastic and doing it before we go to (Northland) Pines for our first conference game is even bigger."

After dropping its first four games of the season - and scoring only two goals in 11 periods after scoring twice in the first period of the opener against Lakeland/Tomahawk - Sandstrom said momentum is beginning to turn for his team.

"You're starting to see that practice we've put out on the ice starting to show up in a game," he said. "The big thing is not going back. It's moving forward and putting out the same product, if not putting out a better product."

Northern Edge 5, Warren 3

Madi Losch scored twice and the Northern Edge had five players with two-point efforts as they earned their first win of the season.

Kourtney Carrico, Payton Bunnell and Ashley Adams also scored as the Edge led 5-3 after two periods, a score that held up in the third.

"Going into today, as a coaching staff, we had a feeling that this was a game that we needed - not only that we were capable of - but we needed to have it. We needed something positive to happen to build on," Sandstrom said.

Losch, who was flipped from forward to defense late in Friday night's game against Viroqua, got the Edge on the board with an end-to-end play 3:37 into the opening period. She beat goalie Kia Bucholtz top shelf on the breakaway.

"(It's) a play we're expecting a player of that caliber to make," Sandstrom said. "I think she found her groove. We moved her back to defense last in the game last night. We started her there today and she looked right at home."

Bunnell scored unassisted on the 9:59 mark to give the Edge a 2-0 lead before Jordan Moore scored to cut the lead to a goal.

Ellen Spiller tied the game 6:27 into the second, but the Edge responded with a decisive push. Kourtney Carrico scored 39 seconds later, the first of three unanswered goals that proved to be the difference in the game.

Losch scored her third goal of the season at the 10:49 mark of the second, firing home a one-timer off a Gwen Frederickson pass. Ashley Adams poked home a rebound off a Carrico shot a little more than a minute later.

Spiller scored again at the 13:49 mark, but the Edge held Warren off the board in the third, despite getting outshot 8-2 in the final period. Alicia Turunen turned aside 22 shots in her first varsity win for Rhinelander/Antigo.

"Alicia Turunen made some huge saves down the stretch and it's nice to walk out of here with our first win," Sandstrom said.

Viroqua 4, Northern Edge 0

The Edge gave up a pair of first period goals and fell to Viroqua 4-0 Friday night. Rhinelander/Antigo was outshot 38-13 in the game.

"Last night was, hopefully, the poorest display we put on all year," Sandstrom said following Saturday's win. "We did not play to our ability. We did not see what we were capable of. We were so slow and so heavily outshot off the start in that first period, it set the tone for the whole game."

Erin Simonson scored on the power play 9:31 into the first for Viroqua and scored again with 4:10 remaining in the period.

The Edge nearly held Viroqua off the scoreboard in the second, but allowed an Emma Kolden goal with 17 seconds remaining. Maia Barendrect tacked on a goal at the 11:15 mark of the third.

Rhinelander/Antigo opened Great Northern Conference play at Northland Pines in a game that concluded after deadline. The team will host Western Wisconsin Saturday afternoon at the Rhinelander Ice Arena.

Jeremy Mayo may be reached at jeremy@rivernewsonline.com.





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