Lightning turn in great effort but fall short against Cougars

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning came up with its best effort of the season on the right night, but it wasn’t quite enough to garner the WIAA playoff upset on Friday (Feb. 1) as they fell 3-0 to the rival Cap City Cougars at Sun Prairie Ice Arena. 

The Lightning served notice it was ready to step onto a plateau with the Badger Conference’s mid and upper pack teams this past season, pushing the Cougars, Viroqua Blackhawks, Icebergs (Stoughton area) and Rock County Fury to close decisions, but ultimately falling short in every contest. 

Inspired by a game just a couple weeks prior when the Lightning pushed the Cougars to overtime before ultimately succumbing 2-1, the six seeded Lightning entered playoff rematch ready and primed for an upset win. 

Out of the gate, the Lightning took it to the Cougs, outshooting them in a tight opening period by a 5-4 margin, but both teams were scoreless through the first 17 minutes. 

Sophomore Keegan Sanderfoot fired an unassisted regular strength goal halfway through the second period and added two more, both on the only two powerplays the Cougars had in the contest – one in the second period and the other in the third. 

Cougars’ junior Izzy Hahn stopped all 29 shots the Lightning put her way and Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada stopped 23 of 26 for the Lightning. 

Members of the Badger Lightning have a quiet minute amongst themselves before shaking hands after their final game of the 2021-22 varsity WIAA season at Sun Prairie Ice Arena Friday night.

Unfortunately, the loss ended the season for the 9-14 Lightning while the Cougars (12-11-1) advanced to the WIAA Section 3 semi-finals at Viroqua on Wednesday (Feb. 23) against the host Blackhawks who moved into the round with an 11-0 win against the Beaver Dam Golden Beavers. 

The loss was especially tough for the team’s three seniors: Carson Blosenski, Signe Begalske and Emily Gunnel.

 The other semi will match the top seeded Metro Lynx who enjoyed a first-round bye against the fourth seeded Icebergs who earned 3-1 win against number five Rock County Fury. That game will also be on Wednesday. 

Both winners will move into the Sectional Championship game at Sun Prairie Ice Arena Saturday at 7 p.m. for one of four Sectional Championship spots in the State tournament next week. 

Badger Lightning varsity players head off the ice following a heartbreaking 3-0 loss in Sun Prairie Friday night.

Gada kicks out 45 in heartbreaker against Cougars

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

The Badger Lightning varsity hockey team gave an idea of how far it has come this season despite dropping a 2-1 decision to the Cap City Cougars in overtime at Pierce Park Pavilion Thursday (Feb. 3). 

Since 2011-12, the Lightning and Cougars faced off 20 times before Thursday’s contest. The Cougars won 19 of them, the lone Lightning win coming a decade ago as of Jan. 12.  

The Cougars added a 20th win on Thursday, but it was more like they escaped with a win thanks to a supreme effort between the pipes from Lightning sophomore Alyssa Gada.  

The shots show more of the same, the Cougars holding a 46-16 edge in regulation play. Gada stopped all but one of those shots as senior Magnolia von Bauer scored 3:03 into the contest. Gada stopped 19 of 20 Cougars’ shots in the opening period and blanked them with 26 stops through the final two periods. 

Meanwhile, junior Mallory Ruland evened the score early in the second period with assists for junior Kayla Capener and senior Signe Begalske.  

The Lightning was 55 seconds away from a tie when Keegan Sanderfoot sank the game winner on the only shot for the Cougars in the overtime segment. 

The loss dropped the Lightning to 11-8 in regular season play and 5-8 in Badger Conference play. 

The team was looking at a quick turnaround with a trip to Stoughton Friday (Feb. 4) to play its final Badger Conference contest against the Icebergs. That will leave two home games on the schedule, Tuesday (Feb. 8) against the Onalaska Hilltoppers and Friday against the Medford Raiders. 

Sanderfoot hat trick leads Cougars past Lightning

By Jim den Hollander 

Editor/Publisher 

Saukhockey.info 

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.