Kallen Gill

Kallen Gill skates toward the puck during the third period of Cap City’s game against Viroqua on Saturday. Gill and the Cougar defense surrendered no goals to the Blackhawks, marking their fifth shutout victory of the season.

After playing against a string of quality goaltenders as of late, the Cap City Cougars know better than most: a fast start is necessary.

On Saturday, the Cougars squared off against Badger Conference foe Viroqua – and their 2018 finalist for the state’s best goalie: Abigail Severson. This marked the third time in the past five games Cap City faced one of the state’s five finalists from a season ago.

Cap City 3,

Viroqua 0

“She’s a wonderful goaltender; she’s shut us down so many times,” Cap City’s Head Coach Jeff Thornton said of Severson. “We go down there every year and it’s a 1-0 game. We knew we had to get to her early; that’s when goalies are most vulnerable.”

The Cougars did exactly that, outshooting the Blackhawks 16-1 in the first period, putting three goals in the back of the net in the process.

Cap City’s first goal came off the stick of Amanda Bauer – from Lauren Bliefernicht and Zephryn Jager – less than five minutes after play began. Six minutes later, Aubrie Deprey doubled the Cougar lead to two goals, scoring on an assist from Mary Goss.

Brynna Banuelos capped the period’s scoring for the Cougars, making in a 3-0 game with an assist from Riley Ledford and Mackenzie Rosin.

“I thought we came out pretty good, good spark, put a couple pucks on the net…” added Thornton. “I thought we were unselfish with the puck, and it paid off in the first period.”

Though the Cougars were unable to add their lead throughout the rest of the game, steady play from their defense and goaltender Izzy Hahn – making her second start of the season – meant Viroqua was held scoreless in the final two periods.

“Coming into the season, the strength of our team was certainly in our seniors. With four seniors playing defense for us, we thought we’d have a pretty good defensive team this year,” said Thornton. “They’ve really stepped up; they play well. Our forwards do a really nice job of backchecking and limit shots. A shutout is part goaltender, it’s part defense, but it’s a lot of forwards as well. I’m proud of the defensive effort we put in as a team; it’s part of our culture.”

In goal, Hahn stopped all eight shots sent her way to earn the shutout victory: the first shutout of her high school career.

“Izzy Hahn did a really nice job in the net, controlled the rebounds,” added Thornton. “The girls really played hard for her.”

Saturday’s win marked Cap City’s second straight, upping their record to 11-1-0 (5-0-0 Badger Conference). The Cougars return to the ice on Thursday, when they travel to Beloit to take on the Rock County Fury, who are second in the Badger Conference, also boasting an unbeaten conference record. The puck is scheduled to drop at Edwards Ice Arena in Beloit at 7 p.m.

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