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Hockey: Raiders stay on top

Hudson freshman Nikki Olund (28) tries to tip a shot past ECA Stars goalie Naomi Stow in the first period of the Raider girls hockey team's Big Rivers Conference opener against the Stars Thursday, Dec. 14, at Gornick Arena. Olund had a hand in all three of Hudson's goals as the top-ranked Raiders defeated the second-ranked Stars, 3-2. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 3
Hudson sophomore Quinn Winkoski (12) fires a shot from just inside the blue line on the Raider girls hockey team's 3-2 win over the ECA Stars Thursday, Dec. 14, at Gornick Arena. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 3
Hudson senior Anna Wilgren (9) carries the puck behind the net in the first period of the Raider girls hockey team's Big Rivers Conference opener against the ECA Stars Thursday, Dec. 14, at Gornick Arena. Wilgren scored the game-winning goal with 5:44 remaining to give the Raiders a 3-2 victory. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 3

Anna Wilgren's goal with 6 minutes, 44 seconds remaining gave the top-ranked Raider girls hockey team a 3-2 victory over the second ranked Eau Claire/Altoona Stars in an early-season showdown between Big Rivers Conference powerhouses Thursday, Dec. 14, at Gornick Arena.

All three of Hudson's goals came on the power play in a game that featured two undefeated teams at the top of the Wisconsin Prep Hockey girls coaches poll.

Wilgren's goal secured the win for Hudson after ECA had rallied from two goals down to tie the score, 2-2, with one period remaining.

After a scoreless first period that included some key saves by both Raider goalie Cassie Schultz and ECA's Naomi Stow, Hudson struck first when freshman Nikki Olund punched in a rebound in the waning seconds of a Raider power play, 2:17 into the second period. Sydney Hendricks and Dani Robson earned assists on the goal.

Hudson made it a 2-0 game with another power play goal 2:46 into the third period when Lexie Nelson took advantage of a scramble in front of the net to slip the puck past Stow with Olund picking up the assist.

The Stars responded with a power play goal of their own by Abigail Stow at the 7:22 mark to cut Hudson's lead in half, then tied the score 1:41 later on an even strength goal by Madison Schwengler.

Hudson came up empty on a power play opportunity early in the third period and had to kill off two penalties before ECA drew a whistle for body checking at the 9:45 mark of the third.

With 29 seconds remaining in the resulting Raider power play, Wilgren took a pass from Olund at the top of the left circle and rifled a shot past the ECA goalie for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Nelson also earned an assist on the play.

Schultz finished with 19 saves, including nine in the third period, as the Raiders outshot the Stars, 24-21. Hudson finished 3-for-6 on the power play while ECA was 1-for-3.

The Raiders went on to defeat East Ridge, 3-2, in a nonconference game Saturday, Dec. 16, at Bielenberg Arena in Woodbury to improve to 5-0 on the season.

Freshman Avery Johnson gave the Raiders a 1-0 lead with a power play goal 3:18 into the first period with an assist from Wilgren, and after East Ridge tied the score five minutes later, Wilgren put Hudson up for good with an unassisted goal at the 11:17 mark of the first.

After a scoreless second period, Robson extended the Raider lead to 3-1 at the 11:30 mark of the third with Wilgren earning her second assist of the game before East Ridge scored with 45 seconds left to make the final 3-2.

Schultz finished with 15 saves as the Raiders outshot the Raptors 28-17.

The Raiders will host Mahtomedi Thursday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m. at Gornick Arena and visit Hayward Saturday, Dec. 23, before taking part in a holiday tournament in Burnsville Dec. 27-29.

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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