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Raider girls clinch BRC hockey title

Hudson’s girls’ hockey team celebrates after beating River Falls, 3-2, at the final horn to clinch the Big Rivers Conference championship Thursday night at Gornick Arena. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Bob Burrows) 1 / 4
Raider senior Paige Johnson (7) watched as Sara Iacobello’s put-back of her own rebound beats St. Croix Valley goaltender Carlie Christensen as the final horn sounds to give Hudson a 3-2 win over the Fusion Thursday night at Gornick Arena.2 / 4
Raider senior Paige Johnson (7) celebrates Hudson’s 3-2, last-second win over River Falls Thursday night at Gornick Arena. 3 / 4
Hudson’s Ali Takkunen (11), celebrates her power play goal with teammate Paige Johnson late in the second period of the Raiders’ 3-2 win over River Falls Thursday night at Gornick Arena.4 / 4

Sara Iacobello’s goal at the final horn snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted the Hudson Raider girls’ hockey team a 3-2 victory over the St. Croix Valley Fusion Thursday night at Gornick Arena to give the Raiders their first-ever Big Rivers Conference title.

Iacobello’s goal capped a three-goal comeback for Hudson, who trailed 2-0 late in the second period.

The win gives the Raiders a BRC record of 4-0-0 (11-5-2 overall) with two conference games remaining. Defending conference champion St. Croix Valley (Rive Falls/Baldwin-Woodville/St. Croix Central/Glenwood City/Boyceville) slipped to 3-2 (13-7-1 overall) with both losses coming at the hands of Hudson.

Since the BRC began sponsoring girls hockey at the start of the 2007-08 season, St. Croix Valley has won the conference title five of the six years with Eau Claire winning in 2011-12.

Iacobello’s game-winning goal set off a wild celebration on the ice at Gornick Arena as the Raiders celebrated their first BRC title.

With time winding down and the score tied, 2-2, Paige Johnson carried the puck over the blue line and slid it across to Iacobello, whose one-timer was stopped by Fusion goalie Carlie Christensen. But Iacobello was able to reach out and poke the rebound up and over a sprawling Christensen and the puck tumbled across the goal line just as the final horn sounded.

St. Croix Valley led 2-0 before Ali Takkunen scored a power play goal for the Raiders with 1 minute, 32 seconds remaining in the second period to cut the lead in half.

Maddie Musura tied it up, 2-2, at 4:24 of the third period and the game looked like it was headed to overtime before Iacobello gave the Raiders the win at the buzzer.

See the Feb. 6 print edition of the Hudson Star-Observer for more on the game.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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