By Jim den Hollander
The Badger Lightning snapped a four-game losing streak and entered the post season on a winning note with a 4-1 decision against the Medford Raiders at Pierce Park Pavilion Friday (Feb. 11).
The Raiders, defeated by the Lightning three times this season, did not make this one easy, carrying a 1-0 lead out of the first period and even at 1-1 heading to the final 17-minutes.
Patience paid off for the Lightning who owned a 39-14 edge in shots including an overwhelming 21-1 edge through the middle period.
The Raiders held a slim 7-6 edge through the opening period and counted the game opener in the third minute with a goal from junior Eryka Seidl.
Alyssa Gada returned from illness an stopped all but one of the 14 Raiders shots including everything fired at her in the final 47 minutes of the contest.
Junior Bella Bowden recently added to the Lightning lineup connected for her first goal 47 seconds into the second period from first years Kayla Garbacz and Reese Olson and teams were still even heading to the third.
Junior Mallory Ruland notched the game winner, her first of two in the period and seventh of eight regular season goals 2:36 into the period, from junior Kayla Capener who became just the second Lightning player to hit the 100-point plateau and senior Signe Begalske.
Junior defender Eryn Benson added some insurance a couple minutes later and Ruland rounded it out at the 6:38 mark, both with unassisted goals.
The win boosted the Lightning finished the regular season for the Lightning with a 9-13 record, the most wins for the team since the 2014-15 season.
The Lightning moves on to the WIAA Playoffs, playing in a section that includes all seven teams from the Badger Conference. The local squad will travel to Sun Prairie for one of four Regional Championship matches in its section on Thursday against the Cap City Cougars – start time still to be determined.
Winner will advance to the Sectional semifinals on Feb. 22 against either the second seeded Viroqua Blackhawks or seventh seeded Beaver Dam Golden Beavers.