By Jim den Hollander
As they boarded the bus for Viroqua on Monday (Jan. 11), the Badger Lightning varsity girls hockey team knew it was in tough. After all, the last meeting, played at Pierce Park Pavilion saw the visiting Blackhawks skating off with an 11-3 win in the season opener on Dec. 3.
So despite absorbing another defeat, the Lightning team and Head Coach Rick Capener had to be somewhat pleased returning home from Viroqua Community Arena having surrendered a 3-1 decision.
The Lightning showed improvement on the stats sheet. After surrendering 41 shots last time, the locals limited the home side to 30 in Viroqua while firing 20 of their own, a couple more than last time.
Teams were past the halfway mark before the host Blackhawks opened the scoring with a goal from Cadence Dehlin.
Kayla Capener responded with the lone Lightning goal – her seventh of the season — with 91 seconds to play in the middle period but the Hawks went in front again just 25 seconds later as Erin Simonson hit the mesh. Dehlin added another in the third to wrap up the scoring in a much closer contest than the Hawks likely expected.
Freshman Alyssa Gada inched a little close to that elusive .900 Save Percentage plateau with a 27-save contest, leaving her at .892.
The loss dropped the Lightning to 2-7 on the season and they will host the 0-1 Onalaska Hilltoppers Thursday at Pierce Park Pavilion with a 7 p.m. opening faceoff. The Lightning will also be home Tuesday for a rematch against the Warbirds who defeated them 5-2 on Jan. 4.
Kayla Capener tied the game briefly late in the second period.