The Rhinelander/Antigo girls' hockey team used a strong second and third period to rally past Medford on Thursday night and earn a 7-2 win at the Langlade County Multi-Purpose Building in Antigo. Northern Edge scored six unanswered goals and Madi Losch finished with a hat trick to lead the way.
In their first match against the Raiders early in the year, Rhinelander/Antigo only earned a one-goal victory. But their second match up, the Edge showed great strides in their second win of the season. Losch not only scored the final three goals of the night for Rhinelander, she also assisted on the first four goals.
Emily Schafer of Medford started the scoring off just 23 seconds into the game on a powerplay after the Edge had too many skaters on the ice. But Rhinelander/Antigo answered back about 2 1/2 minutes later. Emily Kassler evened the score out 1-1 on an assist from Losch and Lauren Kefalinos.
Medford held a slight 10-8 edge on shots in the first period, but the Edge controlled the tempo after the first period and would outshoot the Raiders 37-11 in the final 34 minutes of action.
Jade Forster was final back in action for Rhinelander after being unavailable for the teams’ first three games and added another offensive threat, scoring a pair of goals and two assists.
She scored at 5:43 on an assist from Losch and her younger sister Nevaeh Forster. Jade Forster would score again in the final minute of the second period on another Losch assist to give the Edge a 4-1 lead.
Kefalinos would score in between Forster's goals on a powerplay at 8:30 in the second and was assisted by Evelyn LeVeque and Losch.
Just 26 seconds into the final period Losch scored her first goal of the night but that was only the start. She scored at 4:10 on a powerplay on an assist from Jade Forster to give the Edge a five-goal lead.
Ryley Koski would score for Medford on a powerplay at 7:41 after an Edge roughing penalty but that would be as close as the Raiders would come. Losch scored the final goal of the night with 57 seconds left in the contest on a Jade Forster assist to give the Edge a 7-2 win.
On the night Rhinelander/Antigo outshot Medford 45-21 and goalie Alicia Turunen charted the win and finished with 19 saves. The Edge converted 3-of-7 powerplays while the Raiders were 2-of-4. Northern Edge will be back in action when they travel to Lakeland/Tomahawk Friday.
The Rhinelander High School and Antigo girls' co-op hockey will use the upcoming 2018-2019 season to rebuild. Not only will Northern Edge have to fill the voids of several skaters who graduated, they also will have a new head coach after former Coach Kevin Sandstrom stepped down this summer. Tom Roeser will take over for Sandstrom to lead Northern Edge this season.
The team continues to be stretched thin on depth and decided against a near co-op with Northland Pines. Rhinelander/Antigo current roster consists of 13 players. They will also have a few player ineligible to start the year and are just striving to keep the remaining players healthy.
Northern Edge finished third in the Great Northern Conference which consists of them and three other teams; Lakeland/Tomahawk, Northland Pines, and Medford. Rhinelander/Antigo scored 29 goals in conference games last year while their defense allowed 2.4 goals per contest.
The team graduated a large class last senior which included three of their top five scorers; Payton Bunnell, Kourtney Carrico, and Ellen Padgett. Bunnell led the way with 10 goals and 15 assists. Carrico charted 3 goals and 11 assists and Padgett finished with five goals and six assists.
Despite losing a lot of their scoring from last season, Northern Edge returns plenty of talent from last season as well as a number of new faces battling for starting positions. Rhinelander returns three all-conference players including goalie Alicia Turunen, Madi Losch, and Lauren Kefalinos.
First-team unanimous all GNC goalie Turunen finished 6-15-1 on the season with a 3.45 goals against average. She also stopped 90% of the shots she faced and also added three goals and three assists when she wasn't in the net.
Losch will return and led the team with 17 goals last season but was also one the teams' top defenders. This season, she looks to be one of their top scoring threats. Kefalinos, who earned honorable mention in the GNC will also be a scoring threat for the Edge after recording seven goals and seven assists last season.
Northern Edge will return a number of other skaters including Jade and Nevaeh Forster and Evie LeVeque. Jade Forster finished with three goals, four assists while Nevaeh Forster added two goals, three assists. The Edge will also get a boost from Antigo sophomore Emily Kassler, who joined the team after playing at the Bantam level last season.
Rhinelander/Antigo will start their 2018-2019 season on Monday night when they host Medford at the Langlade County Multi-Purpose Building in Antigo at 7:00PM. Northern Edge will then have a break and will not play again until the travel to Northland Pines on December, 3rd.
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