The Rhinelander/Antigo girls' hockey team just did not have the numbers the squad needed this year and would finish 4-5 in the Great Northern Conference and 5-13 overall this season under first-year head coach Tom Roeser. With plenty of talk of possible co-ops, the 2019-2020 is still uncertain. Despite the circumstances, Northern Edge still had plenty of highlights this season.
At the most, the Edge had 12 total players on the team which included six players from Rhinelander and six from Antigo.The team also had the smallest roster in the GNC. And their number dwindled toward the end of the season due to injuries and would limit them to only nine players.
The Edge was led by a pair of junior unanimous first-team all-conference players; Alicia Turunen and Madi Losch. Sophomores Jade Forster and Emily Kassler also earned honorable mention in the GNC.
Goalie Turunen earned top GNC goalie for the second straight season and finished with 353 saves in the conference and over 600 saves overall and a 3.89 goals against average and a 0.91 save percentage.
While Losch proved to be Northern Edges' top scorer despite playing most of her time on the blue line. Losch had 13 goals and six assists on the year and also earned honorable mention as an all-state defender by the Wisconsin Girls Hockey Coaches Association. Forster finished with seven goals, three assists in the GNC. And Kassler added five goals, four assists for the Edge.
Rhinelander/Antigo would record three of their conference wins this season against Medford who finished 0-9 in the GNC. Edge opened their season with a 4-3 victory over the Raiders and would also earn a 7-2 win December and blanked them 6-0 at the end of January.
The Edge also hosted the Hodagland Tournament at the Rhinelander Ice Arena where they dropped a pair of close games. First Rhinelander/Antigo would come up short to Marquette in a 2-1 overtime contest. And Northern Edge could not redeem themselves the next day where they fell 4-3 to Stoughton co-op on a last-second goal.
Rhinelander/Antigo's only other conference win came on February 11th when they pulled off a big 3-2 upset against Lakeland at the RIA. Taylee Tucker earned the game-winner for the Edge in the third period. Tucker recorded three goals and one assists during the conference season.
The Edge would also earn a forfeit win against Lakeland in the regional finals due to disqualification penalties Lakeland acquired. Northern Edge advanced to the sectional semifinals in playoffs, marking the their furthest run in program history. But the Edge could not keep up with Wisconsin Valley Union co-op and fell 4-0 to end their season. Turunen recorded 51-saves in their final contest.
Rhinelander/Antigo had no seniors on their lineup, so next season return their full squad and are looking to merge with Lakeland, which would likely be a seven-team co-op and would also include Tomahawk, Three Lakes, Mercer, and Wabeno. Although both school boards would need to agree on the plan along with additional filing with the WIAA, the merge would give both teams increased numbers for a more competitive 2019-2020 season.