BLACK RIVER FALLS—The Black River Falls/Tomah girls hockey squad ended their season with just one goal in its final three regular-season games.

Fortunately, one of those games was a win.

The Tigers relied on their goaltending and defense Monday to conclude the regular season with a 1-0 victory over Viroqua at Lunda Ice Center in Black River Falls. The victory improved the Tigers’ record to 7-13-3 heading into the first round of the WIAA D.C. Everest Sectional.

The contest was preceded by back-to-back 6-0 losses against Eau Claire and Hayward.

Black River Falls/Tomah got the puck to the net early and often against Viroqua but produced its only goal 12 minutes into the second period, when Ellie Steinhoff scored off a give-and-go from Kayla Streeter.

“We actually made a lot of good plays to get pucks on net, but we’ve struggled to bury anything,” Black River Falls/Tomah coach Oak Moser said. “If you generate enough chances, you’re on the right side of the ice, and good things will happen.”

After taking the lead, the Tigers’ put their depth advantage to work against a Viroqua squad that suited up just 11 players. The Tigers outshot Viroqua 13-5 in the final period and killed off a late Viroqua power play with little difficulty.

The Tigers’ Shay Lyden nearly clinched the match when she broke loose on a breakaway with 2:30 left only to have Viroqua goaltender Abigail Severson respond with one of her 38 saves.

Black River Falls/Tomah’s defense didn’t allow Severson to leave the ice for an extra attacker until 48 seconds remained. Viroqua managed to hold the puck in the zone the rest of the match but never got off a shot.

Moser said he doesn’t hesitate to utilize a roster that’s strong on numbers, if not experience.

“We run three lines all the time, and we work in a fourth and fifth line when we can, and we rotate our five (defensemen),” Moser said. “They were short-benched, but I thought even in the first period we had the better of the play.”

Black River Falls/Tomah goaltender Josie Mathison earned the shutout with 20 saves.

“Our goaltender is phenomenal, and have a tendency to rely on that too much,” Mose said. “We have to start putting the puck in the net.

The contest was the Tigers’ Senior Night and the graduating class of Lyden, Celina Hall and Maggie Olsen.

The Tigers will host Northland Pines in a sectional quarterfinal starting at 6 p.m. at Lunda Ice Center. The winner travels to number-one seed D.C. Everest for a sectional semifinal Tuesday, Feb. 19.

The sectional was significantly impacted by an incident during the Tigers’ 1-0 loss at Lakeland Feb. 1. During the contest, Lakeland was assessed its third game disqualification for the season, which stripped the team of its eligibility for WIAA post-season play. The disqualified player was whistled for kicking a Black River Falls/Tomah player with her skate blade. The WIAA reviewed the penalty and determined the call was valid.

Lakeland’s first two disqualifications were assessed during its Dec. 14 contest against Northland Pines. Lakeland had been seeded third in the sectional, and as a result of the ruling, sixth-seeded Rhinelander will advance to the semifinals.

Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at steve.rundio@lee.net.

EAU CLAIRE 6

BLACK RIVER FALLS/TOMAH 0

BRF/Tomah 0 0 0 − 0

Eau Claire 0 6 0 − 6

Second period: E—Kison (Akervik) 4:38. E—Kison (Schwengler, Akervik) 5:36 (pp). E—Wagner (Jochimssen, Krummenauer) 5:56. E—Schwengler (Akervik, Gruhlke) 7:49. E—Schwengler (Verhaagh, Gruhlke) 8:49 (pp). E—Kison 10:42.

Saves: B/T—Mathison 36. E—Drath 3, Stow 5.

Penalties: B/T—4-8. E—2-4.

HAYWARD 6

BLACK RIVER FALLS/TOMAH 0

BRF/Tomah 0 0 0 − 0

Hayward 2 2 2 − 6

First period: H—Sprenger (Eytcheson) 2:30. H—Petit (Martin) 10:13.

Second period: H—Pieterek (Sprenger) 1:44. H—Owen (Martin, Sommerville) 10:12.

Third period: H—Donnellan 2:53. H—Eytcheson (Sprenger) 11:44 (sh).

Saves: B/T—Mathison 45. H—Quimby 7.

Penalties-minutes: B/T—Mathison 45. H—Quimby 7.

BLACK RIVER FALLS/TOMAH 1 VIROQUA 0

Viroqua 0 0 0 − 0

BRF/Tomah 0 1 0 − 1

Second period: B/T—Steinhoff (Streeter) 11:45.

Saves: V—Severson 38. B/T—Mathison 20.

Penalties: V—3-6. V 5-10.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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