Hatchet skating girls fight to the end
The Hatchets girls have ridden the strong defense with breakouts by their talented backfield of Erika Vallier and Nicole Nerva, along with strong goal-keeping from freshman Erin Sparks.
But that combo got thrown for a loop in Friday’s playoff game with the Northern Edge at Rhinelander. Weather backed the game up from Thursday to Friday, taking Nerva out of the equation due to a prior commitment. It only got worse when top scorer Vallier was injured midway through the second period of the contest.
The Edge went on to take a 3-1 win.
“The Hatchet girls came out fast and furious and shocked the Edge team who had beaten them the first two contests,” THS coach Greg Vallier said. “The Hatchet girls controlled the game until Erika Vallier was tackled and was taken out of the arena in an ambulance. Tomahawk girls lined the door leading out of the rink as she was taken out of the arena.
“Tomahawk, still in a slight daze, lost focus for a short time and gave up a couple goals. The Hatchet girls showed the heart of the team they have become and played as hard as they have all year with a very short bench, but came up just a little short.”
Dacoda Shore scored an unassisted goal with 2:02 left in the first period and the Hatchets dominated action until Vallier was hurt. The Edge scored twice in a two-minute span a short time later for a 2-1 lead and topped it off later in the third period.
Saves–THS–Sparks 8-22-6–36. NE–Shea Peterson 5-3-2–10.
The girls posted a superlative mark of 11-13 on the season, especially considering many of their opponents are co-op teams from multiple schools, each of them several times the size of THS. The Hatchets tied Marshfield for fourth in the GNC at 7-7. The Rhinelander/Antigo Edge (15-7-2) visited eighth-ranked Northland Pines (18-4-1) on Tuesday.
“Tomahawk ends the season with the best record Tomahawk has ever had since the beginning of the girls program,” Vallier said. “The girls came together this season and overcame many hurdles in the process of becoming friends and teammates, and created a bond that lasts a lifetime. We as coaches could not be any more proud of the girls and the character they have showed on and off the ice. Erin Sparks had a great freshman year stopping almost 92% of the shots she faced. Erika Vallier ended the season the leading defensive goal scorer in the state with 34 goals and was seventh overall in the state for goals.”