All good things must come to an end.
For the Cap City Cougars, it meant their nine-game winning streak to open the season was snapped over the weekend in the Culver’s Cup. The Cougars won two of three, but when they ran into a hot goaltender in their game on Saturday against Wisconsin Valley Union, their streak was halted.
First up was a contest against Superior on Friday.
Cap City 4,
The Cougars’ leading scorer so far this season – Zephryn Jager – was quick to put Cap City into the lead in their opening game of the Culver’s Cup. After five minutes of play, Jager – with an assist from Lauren Bliefernicht – beat the Spartan goalie for the game’s first goal.
Jager’s goal was one of two first-period goals for Cap City; Olivia Thompson netted the second with just under three minutes to play before the first intermission.
In the second, it was Bliefernicht bookending the period with goals at the open and the close. Bliefernicht scored in the period’s first minute and final minute, doubling Cap City’s lead to 4-0.
In the third and final period, Cap City’s goalie Lexi Holman dealt with the most shots her way in a period with eight, but turned them all away to secure her fourth shutout of the season. On the game, Holman made a total of 19 saves.
Next up, Cap City squared off against Wisconsin Valley Union on Saturday.
Wisconsin Valley Union 1,
Cap City 0
Though the Cougars were ultimately held scoreless against Wisconsin Valley Union, it wasn’t for lack of effort.
Cap City outshot their opponent by a 42 to 14 margin on the game, but Wisconsin Valley Union’s goaltender Pistol Cowden proved to be a match for the Cougar attack. She saved each and every one of Cap City’s 42 shots to hold the Cougars scoreless for the first time all season.
The difference between the teams came late in the second period when a Cap City penalty put Wisconsin Valley Union on the power play. Just seven seconds into the power play, Wisconsin Valley Union capitalized to score the game’s lone goal.
While Cap City had their chances in the third period, where they racked up 15 shots on goal and had a pair of power play opportunities, they were unable to figure out how to beat Cowden, and suffered their first defeat of the season at the game’s conclusion.
In goal, Holman made 13 saves for the Cougars.
This left one final game for Cap City to play in the Culver’s Cup; Sunday’s opponent was the St. Croix Valley Fusion.
Cap City 2,
St. Croix Valley 1 (OT)
An unusual display of penalties hampered the Cougars throughout the first two periods of play. Cap City racked up seven penalties over the first 34 minutes of play compared to just one penalty by the Fusion. This gave the Cougars’ opponent a multitude of scoring chances early on.
Though Holman and the Cap City defense held St. Croix Valley scoreless in the first, the Fusion finally broke through in the second on a power play at the 4:14 mark. The Cougars were unable to match the Fusion goal before the second intermission arrived, and for the second consecutive game, Cap City went into the third period trailing 1-0.
This time around, the Cougars responded by scoring in the third. After penalties marred their opening two periods, Cap City played a clean third period, and Audrey Wood scored the equalizer from Jager after 5:40.
Neither side could secure the game-winner before time expired in regulation, so the two teams headed for overtime.
Holman stood tall in the opening minutes of the extra period, making her 36th and 37th saves of the game to keep the Cougars alive. 3:46 into overtime, Cap City’s Riley Ledford – on an assist from Thompson – beat St. Croix Valley’s goalie to finish the game. The goal was Ledford’s first since Cap City’s season opener and lifted the Cougars to their 10th win of the season.
Cap City, now 10-1-0 (4-0-0 Badger Conference) returns to the ice on Jan. 4, when they host the Blackhawks of Viroqua. The puck is scheduled to drop at the Ice Pond of Waunakee at 5 p.m.