By Jim den Hollander
The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team has turned in some solid efforts this season but frequently come away without a win.
That changed on Saturday, for sure the best day of the season so far for the Lightning who put together a pair of impressive wins against the visiting Medford Raiders and Northern Edge out of Rhinelander.
Most impressive was the 7-1 win against Northern Edge, the same team that turned away the Lightning on a Northern road trip 3-2 on December 12.
The Lightning started out the day with an early morning 5-1 decision against the Raiders and in between, the Raiders fell 10-2 to Northern Edge in a round-robin event.
Medford Raiders 1 @ Badger Lightning 5
In the first game, the Lightning built a 2-0 first period margin with goals from junior Signe Begalske and sophomore Mallory Ruhland, the first one unassisted and the other with set ups from sophomores Kayla Capener and Bella Bowden.
Teams played through a scoreless middle segment and Capener padded the lead with a third goal on a feed from junior Carson Blosenski.
Sophomore netminder Kaitlin Elder was beaten just once on 13 shots and that came 4:02 into the final period to get the Raiders within a pair.
Bowden restored the three-goal cushion from Capener and Ruhland less than three minutes later, then added another, from Capener 3:43 from the final buzzer.
The Lightning enjoyed its best offensive outing of the season, peppering the Raiders goaltender with 56 shots.
Northern Edge 1 @ Badger Lightning 7
The wrap up game to decide the unofficial round robin winner turned out to be no contest.
Begalske opened the scoring again with the lone opening period goal, from Capener on a Lightning powerplay.
Bowden’s third of the day was the game winner, 56 seconds into the second period from Begalske and Capener and Ruhland also notched a middle period goal with help from Capener.
Bowden’s second came 3:14 into the third period, from Capener, a couple minutes before the lone Northern Edge shot to beat freshman goaltender Alyssa Gada.
Blosenski, Capener and Begalske rounded out the scoring with assists for Capener and Ruhland.
The Lightning held a 31-26 edge in shots in the contest.
The wins boosted the Lightning’s overall record on the season to 4-10 with one game remaining tonight (Feb. 2) in Black River Falls against the 3-5 Tigers.
Capener has 20 assists on the season so far – fourth best total in the state and her 31 points is sixth best. Bowden’s 15 goals ties here for seventh best total in state and she has 20 points.