Anika Einbeck

Rock County Fury players surround Anika Einbeck after her goal in the first period Tuesday, Feb. 25, at the Janesville Ice Arena. The Fury defeated University School of Milwaukee 1-0 in the sectional semifinal and went on to beat Fond du Lac 4-2 in the sectional final.

The Rock County Fury is headed back to the WIAA state girls hockey tournament.

The area’s co-op team, based out of Beloit Memorial, was the No. 1 seed in its sectional but went out on the road to beat second-seeded host Fond du Lac 4-2 in a sectional final game Friday night.

Alyssa Knauf (Albany) scored twice, and the Fury were sparked by two power-play goals in advancing to state for the second time in program history and first since 2016.

“This means a lot to them, and it was great watching them get to celebrate jumping over the boards,” Fury head coach Luke Steurer said. “They’ve put in a lot of hard work all season and definitely earned it.”

Rock County — slotted as the No. 4 in the WIAA state tournament — will take on Middleton co-op in a semifinal match Thursday, March 5, at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

The Fury trailed the Warbirds 1-0 in the second period when they connected on the power play for the first time. Janesville Craig senior Sara Nerad scored off one of Anika Einbeck’s (Monroe) three assists to tie the game less than three minutes before the second intermission.

Knauf scored her first goal with 21 seconds left in the period to give Rock County its first lead.

“After a scoreless first period, we talked about needing to get the puck to the net,” Steurer said. “We started taking a little bit better shots, and our power play got it going.”

The Fury made it 3-1 when Haley Knauf scored on another power play less than three minutes into the third.

After the Warbirds got back within a goal, Alyssa Knauf capped the scoring at 10:39, giving the Fury some cushion.

“We were able to run two and a half lines and had contributions from all of them, both offensively and defensively,” Steurer said. “That was huge.”

Olivia Cronin (Beloit Memorial) stopped 23 shots in earning the victory between the pipes.

Presley Kovacevich, a senior, is the lone Milton representative on the Fury.

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