By Jim den Hollander
The Badger Lightning varsity girls opened its regular season Saturday afternoon with a tough test at Pierce Park Pavilion in Baraboo.
The first Sauk County team to take the ice in anger, the Lightning, made up of players from Baraboo, Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells, Sauk Prairie and Elroy High Schools came up short in a 6-1 loss against the Arrowhead Warhawks.
The score didn’t indicate the effort in the contest as the Lightning, suddenly blessed with three solid lines and a capable group on the blue line and between the pipes, outshot their guests by a 26-24 margin.
In the first period in particular the locals held a 12-6 edge in shots, but most of their opportunities were from 20 feet or further away and easily handled by Arrowhead junior Katie Friel.
The Warhawks scored once in the opening period but put a stranglehold on the contest in a stretch of 2:31 in the middle period when they found the mesh four times, turning a 2-0 edge into a lopsided 6-0 decision.
The Badger Thunder finally hit paydirt in the final minute of the period when a frantic scramble in front of Friel saw senior linemates Bella Bowden and Kayla Capener along with sophomore teammate Reese Olson all banging away at a loose puck on top of the crease before Bowden finally lifted it over Friel.
The team looked solid in the faceoff dot with senior Mallory Ruland and sophomore Kayla Garbacz finding success throughout the contest.
Third period was played mostly in the middle of the ice, both teams adding just one more shot to their respective team total.
Junior Alyssa Gada kicked out 18 shots for the Lightning who will go back to work and prepare for another home game Friday (Nov. 25 against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers, a team it has never lost to.
JV Warhawks 8 JV Lightning 2
Two seasons ago, the Badger Lighting varsity team consisted of two lines and the 2022-23 version not only opened the season with three solid lines of forward and defense, but enough extra players to schedule some junior varsity games this season.
First-year Kyran Merrell, a defender collected both Lightning goals in the contest and Coach Capener also mentioned first year forwards Elizabeth Hagg and Emma Diehl for promising starts to the season as well while first year goaltender Claire Scates made her high school debut between the pipes.
The jv squad will also be in action Friday against Beaver Dam and there is a junior varsity only match against conference rival Cap City Cougars in Madison early the following week.