For the second time this season, the Viroqua cooperative girls hockey team skated home with a first-place tournament trophy. The latest as champions of the Rhinelander Holiday Tournament held Dec. 28-30. The Blackhawks (7-4) are also owners of the Kettle Moraine tournament title played Dec. 1-2.
Viroqua vs. Medford, Dec. 28
Ten different players contributed in the scoring column in a 12-1 rout of the Medford Raiders in the tournament opener. Mai Barendregt and Lydia Noble (Youth Initiative High School) each recorded a three-goal hat trick, with Barendregt adding a pair of assists for a five-point game, to lead the balanced scoring attack.
Perla Grenier (YIHS) chipped in with a pair of goals and an assist, Emma Kolden and Kelsey Shaner each knocked in a goal and an assist, while Allysandra Dehlin and Erin Simonson had one goal each. Emma Hughes (YIHS), Taylor Menzyski (Cashton High School) and Naomi Schroeder also added a single assist in the winning effort.
The Blackhawks vaulted to a 6-0 lead in the first period and added four more in the second and two in the third. Two of the goals were on the power play and one was of the short-handed variety.
Ivy Shonka stopped eight of nine Raider shots to pick up the win in goal.
Viroqua vs. Rhinelander, Dec. 29
It was a familiar formula of balanced scoring and great goal-tending that led the way to the 4-0 round two shutout win over host Northern Edge, a Rhinelander area co-op. Shonka recorded 13 saves and the Blackhawk goals came from four different skaters with two more adding assists in the winning effort. The Blackhawks created 36 scoring chances in the game.
Kolden contributed a goal and a pair of assists, while Shaner, Schroeder and Alice Blake each found the back of the net, with assists from Barendregt and Simonson.
Blake opened the scoring with an un-assisted goal coming just :51 into the opening period, Shaner made it 2-0 with assists to Simonson and Kolden early in the second period, just :19 into the middle frame. Kolden gave the Hawks a 3-0 cushion with a score assisted by Shaner in the third period and Schroeder closed out the scoring later inn the period assisted by Barendregt.
Viroqua vs. Stoughton, Dec. 30
Kolden and Shonka carried the Hawks to a heart-stopping 2-1 championship game victory over Stoughton. Kolden scored both Viroqua goals, the second with time running out in the game and Shonka stopped 16 of 17 shots to secure the win, the second in the last month for the Blackhawks over the Icebergs, a familiar Badger Conference foe.
Kolden put the Hawks in front 1-0 with an un-assisted short-handed goal coming midway through the first period at the 8:22 mark. Shonka kept it that way with seven first-period saves, until the Icebergs tied the game at 1-1 at 3:30 of the second period. The score remained tied until late in the game when Kolden knocked in the clutch game winner, off an assist from Barendregt, with just eight seconds left in the final period.
The winning score was set up, as Barengredt controlled the puck near the Viroqua defensive blue line and sent a head-manning pass to a streaking Kolden who was breaking through neutral ice. Kolden gathered the pass, skated around a Stoughton defender, breaking to the left face-off circle, then buried a top-shelf wrister into the back of the net, over the right shoulder of Iceberg goalie McKenzie Nisius. It was the second game winning goal of the year for Kolden
Shonka recorded 16 saves for the win and Nisius stopped 29 of 31 Viroqua shots on goal.
The road-weary Blackhawks, who have played just one home game in their first 11 contests this season, will stay on the road playing at Somerset Jan. 5 and Chippewa Falls Jan. 6 before finally returning to the Viroqua Community Arena to entertain Stoughton Jan. 9.