Ice Bears advance to state final
BY PRESS TIMES SPORTS
For the first time since 2017, the Bay Area Ice Bears girls’ hockey team is headed to the WIAA state championship game.
The Ice Bears built a two-goal lead in the second period and downed the Middleton Co-op 4-1 in a state semifinal on Thursday afternoon at Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton.
The Ice Bears’ Faye Brunke opened the scoring at 2:42 of the first period with assists going to Kristina Kruse and Julianna Bradford.
Top-seeded Bay Area (25-3) added to its lead at 9:32 of the second on a goal by Rachel Beeck with assists from Addy Gady and Hannah Von Haden. No. 4-seeded Middleton (19-8) answered five minutes later to cut its deficit to one goal.
Emily Bill gave the Ice Bears a little cushion at 8:05 of the third period with a helper from Bradford.
Bay Area sealed its victory with a power-play tally with just 2:31 remaining. Bradford got the goal — giving her three points for the game — with assists going to Kruse and Claire Bradford (who was named first-team All-State).
Anna Byczek made 10 saves in between the pipes for the Ice Bears.
Bay Area had 36 shots on goal for the game, outshooting Middleton 14-1 in the final period.
The Ice Bears will now take on Superior/Northwestern (21-5) in the state title game on Saturday. The puck is scheduled to drop at approximately 12:10 p.m., 30 minutes after the Division 2 boys’ state title game.