By Jim den Hollander
The Badger Lightning has maintained a record north of .500 through its first five games of the 2021-22 varsity season, dropping its most recent contest, 6-1 against the Cap City Cougars at Waunakee Ice Pond on Monday (Dec. 6, 2021).
The Cougars are a team the Lightning have never defeated and part of the team’s goal this season was to cut the gap on those teams that have dominated them in WIAA Badger Conference play for the past decade.
At first glance, a 6-1 defeat might not seem like a step forward but the shots on goal shows a drastic defensive improvement from a team tired of being pushed around on the shot clock.
The one thing the Lightning couldn’t overcome, at least early, was the play of Cougars forward Keegan Sanderfoot. After scoring twice in the game’s first minute, Sanderfoot wrapped up a natural hat trick later in the opening period as the host Cougars rolled to a 4-0 first period cushion.
Sophomore goaltender Alyssa Gada endured her first rough period of the season but made up for it, kicking out all but two of the 16 shots she faced the rest of the way.
The Lightning held a 7-4 edge on the shot clock through the middle period and the margin paid off as junior Kayla Capener fired her fifth goal of the season with assists for Audrey Hanko and senior Signe Begalske.
Capener has collected at least a point in all five games played for the Lightning this season.
The Cougars regained control on the shot clock and fired two more in the final period, on its way to a 26-15 edge overall.
The Lightning fell to 1-2 in Badger Conference play and faced another tough assignment on Friday as the 6-0 (1-0 Badger Conference) Metro Lynx will be in town for another conference test.