The Tigers entered into a tough stretch of games facing off against the number-one and –two ranked teams in Hudson and Eau Claire/Altoona this week.
“It is important for us to compete with these teams that have experienced success and play at a high level as we continue our development process,” head coach Oakley Moser said.
The Tigers would first play Hudson last Saturday, coming away with a hard-fought 2-0 loss.
The Raiders would score early in the first period after Sydney Hendricks would drain one in the net with 1:11 expired.
Tiger goalie Josie Mathison would prove her worth in the game as she would make a total of 40 saves versus the 14 the Hudson goalie would have to make.
“Mathison continued to be rock solid between the pipes and continues to perform among the elite goalies in the state,” Moser said.
Hudson would tack one on in the third period with 5:20 expired as insurance to put the Raiders up 2-0.
Despite the tough loss, Moser was happy with how his team responded to the number-one ranked team in the state.
“Several players showed considerable improvement and are beginning to support each other, both at and away from the puck, in a more effective manner during play,” Moser said. “We were not without opportunities, but were unable to capitalize on the chances.”
In the game, Moser also felt his team saw something no other team had provided before the game.
“It was the fastest paced game of the season to date, and we were able to compete. As we learn to manage the puck at that pace we will realize more success,” Moser said.
The Tigers would next face off against the number-2 ranked team in Wisconsin in the Eau Claire-Altoona Stars Tuesday night.
The Tigers would again give up an early goal in the first period, as the Stars would get their first goal in :52.
“A goal by ECA in the first minute of the game provided us a little bit of a wake-up call and the first period ended with the 1-0 score,” Moser said.
The Tigers would hold strong the rest of the period, but the second period would not prove to be so easy as the Stars would score three goals between the 6- and 10-minute marks.
The Tigers would get one back late in the second period when Khloe Spors would put one through the net to make the score 4-1. Baileigh Johnson would be there for the assist.
The Stars would score again late in the third period to go back up by four points.
Samantha Hansen would score the last goal of the night for the Tigers at the 16:27 mark of the third period off an Ellie Steinhoff to Savannah Holcomb assist. The goal started out as a 3-on-2 rush that ended with a battle in the corner and a centering pass form the corner to Hansen in the low slot area who finished with a shot past the ECA goalie.
The game would end with a 5-2 loss for the Tigers despite for the first time this year not playing short-handed the entire game.
Mathison would make 38 saves on the night compared to 10 for the Star’s goalie.
“As we improve our defensive zone play, we will provide more support and deny some of those scoring opportunities,” Moser said. “The Black River Falls squad is learning some valuable lessons in terms of compete level, having to start every shift with full intensity and the benefits of communicating on the ice so that they can leverage each others skills and abilities.”