By Jim den Hollander
The result in the end was a loss, but the Badger Lightning varsity hockey team showed Thursday night it is not going to be pushed around by the rest of the Badger Conference anymore.
After opening with a pair of home wins against Beaver Dam the prior weekend, the Lightning hit the road for the first time, Friday, making the trip to Beloit to face the Rock County Fury and absorbing its first loss of the season by a 2-1 margin. The Fury led the game for only 89 seconds. Unfortunately for the visitors it was the final 89.
The Fury run a winning streak vs. The Lighting to 11 games but felt the Lightning squad’s breath on their neck the whole way.
Part of the credit goes to sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada who kicked out 32 shots to keep her team in it, but while the Lightning was outshot the 34-23, much closer than other games. Also, the Lightning who were comfortable in previous seasons with a short bench actually had one more skater than the Fury in the game.
Lightning junior, Kayla Capener had her team on the board first with her fourth goal and ninth point of the young season late in the opening period. The Fury rallied to tie it up at nearly the exact same point in the middle period and notched the game winner 89 seconds from the final buzzer.
Sophomore Emma Kligora and senior Sara Loerke scored the Fury goals.
Capener’s point has her tied for sixth in state in both assists and points. Strangely, Gada doesn’t show up on the state’s top 10, but here .932 save percentage ties her for fifth-best.
The Lightning dropped to 2-1 on the season and 1-1 in Badger Conference play while the Fury climbed to 3-1-1 with the win and 1-0 in conference play. (The Fury played again Friday night, dropping a 5-0 shutout loss to the Bay Area Ice Bears in Ashwaubenon.
The Lightning play at home again Friday, hosting the 0-2 Wisconsin Valley Union in a 6 p.m. faceoff at Pierce Park Pavilion before facing its toughest contest so far, facing the Cap City Cougars at Waunakee Ice Pond on Monday night.