The Northern Edge girls' hockey co-op team merged for the 2019-2020 season and proved they are headed in the right direction and had plenty of highlights for the season. The Edge finished 14-9-0 on the season, marking their first winning season with double digit wins in five years, dating back to the 2015-2016 season. Here is a look back at their season and what to look forward to next season.
Northern Edge was previously a co-op between Rhinelander, Antigo, and Three Lakes and would extend their merge with Lakeland/Tomahawk co-op in the off-season. Both teams were low on numbers and with the combined roster brought the team total to about 23 skaters. Despite the obstacles such as deciding on practice and games locations, everything worked out, with a majority of practices happening in Rhinelander, which was the most central location of all the participating schools.
With the merge, came added depth to the roster, which was just what the Edge needed . Lakeland Juniors Izzy Boyer and Kate Vizanko would prove to be an extra scoring threat this season. Boyer finished the season with 13 goals, 12 assists while Vizanko was not far behind with 12 goals and 11 assists.
Lakeland also brought in a pair of freshman to add depth to their defense; Maria Gironella and Caitlyn Fesnick. Fesnick finished the year with nine assists, three goals and Gironella recorded seven assists and two goals. And junior Anna Maulson gave more depth in the net for the Edge and split time with senior Alicia Turunen. Maulson finished 6-5 on the year with a .911 save percentage and a 2.96 goals against average. Turunen went 7-4 with a .927 save percentage and 2.34 goals against average and also added three goals and three helpers when Maulson was in the net and would earned the teams' MVP award for the third time in her career.
Northern Edge took some time to gel together early in the season and started 0-3 with losses to Central Wisconsin, Green Bay East, and Northland Pines. The Edge then broke the streak with a 10-3 win over Medford before heading into the Hodagland Tournament where the varsity went undefeated at 3-0. Northern Edge actually split into two teams to add six teams in the tournament and combined went 5-1 overall.
The Edge would again fall to Central Wisconsin and Pines, but by much closer margins before they again bounced back and would win eight straight contests from there. Northern Edge would go 2-0 in the Beaver Dam Triangular and would also pick up wins over Medford, Wisconsin Valley Union, Northland Pines, Glacier, and Lakeshore. One of their highlight victories was the 4-1 upset over the Eagles on January 27th at the Eagle River Sports Arena.
The Edge will lose five seniors to graduation including four-year starters; Turunen, Madi Losch, and Lauren Kefalinos. Northern Edge will also lose Rhinelander senior Brooke Beauchaine and Lakeland senior Ashley Albee. Losch was the leading scorer for the edge and finished with 16 goals, 10 assists and earned honorable mention All-State from the Wisconsin Girls Hockey Coaches Association for the second straight year.
Despite losing five seniors, the Edge still brings back a number of scoring threats for next season including Boyer, Vizanko, Emily Kassler, Evelyn LeVeque, and Wyndi Saari who all recorded four or more goals on the year. Also with the merge, the Northern Edge co-op with prove to still have depth and have plenty to look forward to next season.
The Northern Edge girls' hockey co-op would continue their winning streak and charted back to back road wins starting on Friday against Brookfield and edged Lakeshore on Saturday. The Edge has now won seven straight contests to improve to 11-5 on the season and has not lost a game since the beginning of January.
Starting on Friday night, Northern Edge rallied for four goals in the first period to cruise to a 6-2 win at Brookfield. The Edge would tally all four goals in a six minute stretch the first period and tacked on two more goals in the third.
Kate Vizanko put the Edge on the board at 3:01 in the first period on an assist from Caitlyn Fesnick. But the Glaciers would respond at 5:28 when Hadley Malcolmson found the back of the net to tie the game up 1-1. But that was short-lived and the Edge would use a 16-4 edge on shots to regain the lead for good.
Emily Kassler scored at the six-minute mark and exactly one minute later Alicia Turunen connected on an assist from Vizanko and Kassidee Linssen. Evelyn LeVeque capped off the scoring at 8:23 to give Northern Edge a 4-1 lead.
Brookfield turned the tables in the second period and would out-shoot Northern Edge 15-9. Malcolmson scored her second goal of the night on a powerplay midway through the period on an assist from Molly Cole and Maddy Rudella to pull the Glaciers within two goals.
In the final period, Brookfield again held a 9-5 edge on goals, but keeper Anna Maulson did not let a shot past her in the final 17 minutes of action. And Madi Losch taked on a pair of late goals to give the Edge a four-goal victory. Losch scored at 13:15 and added another at 14:16 on an assist from Wyndi Saari and Isabella Boyer.
On the night, Northern Edge held a 30-28 advantage on shots and Maulson recorded 26 saves in the win.
Then on Saturday, the Edge recorded their seventh straight win of the year as they edged Lakeshore Lightning 3-2 on Saturday in Kettle Moraine. The Edge would score all three of their goals in a six minute stretch starting late in the first period, and would fend off the Lightning from there.
Lakeshore got on the board at 3:37 on a goal from Anna Gontarski and assist by Caitlin Kennedy. The Lightning would hold that 1-0 advantage a majority of the period until Boyer even the score out at 14:22 on an assist from Emily Kassler. And only 31 seconds later Saari put the Edge ahead 2-1 on a goal at 14:53, assisted by Vizanko and Boyer.
In the second period Boyer would score Northern Edges' final goal of the evening at 3:43 to give the Edge a 3-1 lead. Lakeshore pulled within one goal after Gontarski connected again early in the third period, but Turunen and Northern Edges' defense denied any other opportunities from there.
The Edge finished with 33 shots while Lakeshore recorded 22 which included a 12-5 edge in the second period. Turunen recorded the win in goal and finished with 20 saves.
Northern Edges' contest against Hayward tomorrow night has been cancelled so Lakeland was able to host Medford in the first round of the GNC boys' tournament. Sunday will be the girls' selection seeding meeting. The Edge will be back in action Saturday at Marquette.
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