Like several other winter RHS sports, the Rhinelander/Antigo girls' hockey team had several obstacles in their way for the 2016-2017 season which impacted their overall results. Northern Edge finished the year 4-15-0 overall and 2-6 in the Great Northern Conference standings under head Coach Kevin Sandstrom.
It also marked the first time in five seasons the Edge fell below .500. The Edge finished fourth in the Great Northern Conference, only finishing ahead of Medford who went without a win at 0-8.
Along with not competing in over a month span due to the pertussis outbreak after winter break, Northern Edge girls' hockey also faced several players having concussions throughout the season. Rhinelander/Antigo also had a difficult time filling the scoring voids of Katie Detert and Lindsey Steger, who were 1st and 3rd all-time scorers for the Edge.
Northern Edge had a rocky start to their 2016-2017 season, where they lost seven straight contests to start the season that was broken apart by the month of no games. Despite the losses they are some hard fought battles against some top teams including a 3-1 loss on the road against Waupaca.
The Edge charted their first win of the year over Medford on the road at the end of January. Northern Edge outshot the Raiders 34-31 and was able to earn the 6-4 GNC win to give them momentum. Rhinelander/Antigo also spread their scoring out, charting two goals per period.
Junior Kourtney Carrico and freshman Jade Forster each scored two goals in the win over Medford. And Payton Bunnell and Ellen Padgett each added one as well.
Just two games later, the Edge also earned a 3-1 non-conference win over the Icebergs of Stoughton on the road. Despite the Icebergs outshooting Rhinelander/Antigo 38-22 in the contest, the Edge was able to convert more shots tallying one goal per period. Padgett, Alicia Turunen, and Abby Oettinger all recorded goals in the win.
Out of Northern Edges' 25 GNC goals this season, 22 of them came against Medford. The Edge would improve each contest against the Raiders throughout the year and earned 9-2 and 7-1 victories nearing the end of the season.
Northern Edges' team offense only averaged 1.8 goals per game in the GNC, while Northland Pine led the conference with 6.1 goals per game, and Waupaca wasn't far behind averaging 5.1 per contest. Rhinelander/Antigo was also shutout in a total of 10 games this season.
The Edge had no individual scorers or assist leaders make the top of the GNC list and struggled converting power plays on the year at only 9.7%.Waupaca led the GNC converting 37.9% of power plays.
Throughout the year, the Edge only finished with 29 goals throughout 19 games. Carrico led Northern Edge this season with 9 goals, 3 assists. Freshman Turunen and Forster each added five goals apiece. Oettinger finished with 1 goal, 4 assists. And Padgett added 2 goals, 2 assists while Chelsea Newby recorded 2 goals and 1 assist as well.
Defense improved for the Edge throughout the year, where they finished 3rd in the GNC in team kill percentage at 88.5%. Waupaca led the GNC with a 100% penalty kill. Northern Edge finished 4th in the conference in goals against average at 4.1 per game. Lakeland/Tomahawk swept the goals against average with all-conference goalie Erin Sparks who allowed 1.47 goals per game.
Senior goalie Shea Petersen anchored Northern Edges' defense and was 4th in the GNC with a 4.00 goals against average with the 3rd best individual save percentage at 88.5%. Sparks led the GNC with an impressive 94.6% save percentage.
Overall Petersens' save percentage went up to 89.0% if you included non-conference games while she averaged facing 41.2 shots per game. In her efforts to close her senior year, Petersen received second-team all-GNC.
Rhinelander/Antigo will lose four seniors to graduation looking ahead to next season, including Petersen, Newby, Sethany Sass, and junior Oettinger who will be graduating early. But will return seven solid juniors who made up a majority of the teams’ top scorers as well as several underclassmen with varsity expereice making the future look bright for Northern Edge.
The Rhinelander/Antigo girls' co-op hockey team could no slow down Stevens Point/Marshfield/Wisconsin Rapids on Tuesday night, and fell 8-1 at the Rhinelander Ice Arena.
In the non-conference match-up, the Red Panthers would rally for 62 shots in their seven-goal victory. With goalie Shea Petersen recording 54 saves on the night.
Stevens Point/Marshfield/Wi. Rapids would start strong and connect on three first period goals and outshot the Edge 21-3. On the night, the Red Panthers were led by Kaylee Bruneau, Emily Exner, and AJ Weiss who scored two goals each on the night.
Their early momentum didn't stop after the first, the Panthers would quickly connect on their first goal of the second. Weiss charted her first goal of the night, only 54 seconds into the frame. And Bruneau would also tally her second just two minutes later.
But the Edge didn't back down, despite being down five goals. Late in the second Alicia Turunen had a breakaway down the ice, and Kourtney Carrico was there for the rebounding getting the shot past goalie Maddie Hall at 4:35. Hall would finish with eight saves. In the final period, Pistol Coweden of the Panthers took over in the net and saved all three shots that came her way.
That would be Northern Edge's lone goal of the night, and wouldn’t be enough offense to keep pace with the Panthers. For the 2016-2017 season the Edge is only averaging 11.75 shots per match in their first four contests. Tuesday night proved to be no different offensively, while the Edge was out-shot 62-12 overall.
Weiss would chart her second goal at the 11:00 minute mark in the third, this time going unassisted. The Panthers took a convincing 7-1 advantage.
After Northern Edge committed one of their six penalties of the night with 20 seconds remaining in the game, they decided to pull Petersen out of the net for an extra offensive push. But for the second time this season opponents would score an empty net goal.
And Bryar Brooks would score the final goal of the night, and was not only in an empty net, but was a short-handed goal for the Panthers.
Despite the outcome of the match, Northern Edge has made improvements from the start of the year, and support on and off the ice has been evident. The Edge will look to continue to improve and learn from their early matches.
Northern Edge will return to action on Friday night for a non-conference match on the road at Beaver Dam.
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