Ice Bears fight illness, tie Stars
BY RICH PALZEWIC
ASHWAUBENON – Hockey players have long been known for their toughness. The Bay Area Ice Bears girls’ team proved that true on Dec. 4 at the Cornerstone Community Center.
Despite jumping out to an early 2-0 lead over the Fox Cities Stars, Bay Area couldn’t hold that lead in a game that ended in a 4-4 overtime tie.
With the tie, the Ice Bears now sit at 3-1-2 overall and 1-1-1 in the Eastern Shores Conference.
“It was a roller coaster of a game,” said Bay Area head coach Brandon Erkkila. “We had about four girls that were battling some sickness. They wanted to play so they toughed it out and went to school (yesterday). We are kind of a hurting unit right now early in the year, but we’ll get it back and everyone will get healthy again.”
One of those sick was goalie Delaney Butterfield (Notre Dame), but she still managed to make a number of big saves, especially down the stretch.
Bay Area is a co-op team in the Green Bay area made up of 29 girls from eight different schools, including six from Bay Port and three from Ashwaubenon.
Bay Port’s Jordyn Kadrlik scored just 2:11 into the game, before Evelyn Vincent (Green Bay Southwest) made it 2-0 three minutes later. The Stars immediately answered with two quick goals in a 12-second span shortly after Vincent’s goal to knot things up.
“Even after our quick start, I knew Fox Cities was going to come back strong,” Erkkila said of his team’s conference rival. “They are a talented team and we are evenly matched with them.”
Kalli Mikesch (Bay Port) made it 3-2 less than two minutes later, before Fox Cities tied it again with 1:39 left in a wild first period.
After Maddie Gibson (Southwest) gave the Ice Bears a 4-3 lead nearly halfway through the second period, things stayed that way until late in the game. Bay Area was just 53 seconds away from getting the win, but the Stars scored the equalizer to force overtime.
Some controversy hit in the extra period when the Ice Bears’ Katerina Zrnova (Ashwaubenon) was called for a boarding penalty and served two minutes for that infraction. A short time later – three minutes later to be exact – after play had resumed, the Fox Cities’ coach noted to the official that it should have been more time spent in the box, so Zrnova was called back to serve the remaining three minutes of the penalty.
“If a boarding penalty is called, by the rules of WIAA hockey, it either has to be five-minute major penalty or five minutes and a game (misconduct),” added Erkkila. “The ref only gave (Zrnova) a two-minute penalty but it should have been five. Somebody must have alerted the Stars’ coach so they made our girl serve the remaining three minutes after play had already resumed.”
To make matters worse, Ashwaubenon’s Mia Dunning also got called for a penalty shortly thereafter, so Bay Area had to kill off a 5-on-3 power play to end the overtime.
Kadrlik also had two assists on the night, while Mikesch added one.
The Ice Bears travel to Beloit Memorial Friday night, Dec. 8, before taking on Sun Prairie on Saturday.