By Jim den Hollander
The Badger Lightning continued a solid start to the 2022-23 WIAA regular season and made a little history with a dominating effort in Stoughton Saturday afternoon.
With likely the most impressive offensive effort in team history, the Lightning pounded more than 60 shots at the host Icebergs’ goal at the Mandt Community Center, racking up a 4-0 shutout win.
For a second straight game, the Lightning came up with a ‘Dub’ against a team it hadn’t defeated in several seasons.
The Icebergs, a co-operative effort of schools from several Madison area schools has been matched with the Lightning in the Badger Conference since it started, but coming into this one, the Icebergs held a 15-4-1 edge against the locals including eight straight wins dating back to Jan. 4, 2017. Incidentally, the Lightning won that one 3-2 with all goals, including the overtime game winner coming off the stick of Lizzie Patton.
This time around senior defender Eryn Benson notched the only goal needed by the Lightning before the end of the game’s first minute. Senior Kayla Capener collected an assist on the goal.
First-year Ryleigh Bychinski collected her first varsity goal unassisted later in the period and the Lightning carried a 2-0 lead out of the frame.
Sophomore Audrey Hanko notched the lone middle period tally with help from seniors Bella Bowden and Capener and the final goal came from Capener with an assist from sophomore Reese Olson.
By far the busiest player in this game was Icebergs’ goaltender Aven Gruner who stopped 59 of 63 shots and held the Lightning to a single second period goal despite and overwhelming 31-2 margin on the shot counter.
Meanwhile, junior Alyssa Gada is putting together an amazing season herself, collecting her second shutout in four games so far. While the 13 shots faced doesn’t sound scary, many feel it is tougher for goaltenders to be not as busy in a contest as they can get cold. Gada has allowed just nine goals in four games. Take away a rough start against Arrowheaed and that number falls to three goals against in her past three games with 54 saves on 57 shots.
Thunder is 3-1 overall and 2-0 in Badger Conference matches now and looks to keep the torch held high when they hit the road Monday (Dec. 5) for a game at Sun Prairie Ice Arena looking to end another long skid against the Cap City Cougars.
Local fans will get their chance to see the Lightning in action Friday at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo with yet another conference tilt, against the Rock County Fury. That will be the first of three straight home games for the local squad.