Storm Brings Title Reign (WIAA State Girls Hockey)

Storm Brings Title Reign (WIAA State Girls Hockey)
Posted on 03/06/2017
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Wausau Daily Herald
03/05/2017 - Page B01

WIAA STATE GIRLS HOCKEY

STORM BRINGS TITLE REIGN

Ramthun’s OT goal lifts Central Wisconsin over Bay Area for WIAA championship

TIM JOHNSON
USA TODAY NETWORK-WISCONSIN

MADISON - Katelyn Ramthun has scored nearly 90 goals during her four years as a member of the Central Wisconsin Storm.

The biggest one of her career came Saturday afternoon.

The veteran forward lived out the dream of countless high school hockey players as she scored nearly five and a half minutes into the overtime period to give the Storm a 2-1 win over Bay Area in the WIAA girls hockey state championship game at Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

"I broke down in tears," Ramthun said on her reaction to the goal. "It was the happiest moment of my life and I got to spend it with my sisters."

Sisters is the word she chose to describe her teammates, especially the nine seniors on the Storm roster who had only experienced heartbreak at the state tournament in their prep careers coming into Saturday. The Storm (233-3) had been eliminated in the semifinals the previous four years and it looked like the Ice Bears would continue that misery this time.

Bay Area (21-5-1) took the lead with a goal five and half minutes into the third period and it looked like it might be the difference until Emelia Edmondson tied the game with just 2 minutes, 12 seconds left in regulation.

The Storm made the most of the opportunity.

Central Wisconsin had all four shots in overtime and converted on its second power play opportunity of the extra period.

Just eight seconds after the Ice Bears’ Abby Anderson was called for tripping, the Storm’s Maggie Plaza — who had the lone goal in the Storm’s semifinal win Friday — sent a pass from the left faceoff circle to the right post where Ramthun was camped behind a Bay Area defenseman. Ramthun then tapped the puck into the net to set off the Storm’s celebration. Central Wisconsin finished 1-for-6 on the power play.

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"I trust Maggie. I knew she was going to get it to me," Ramthun said. "It’s one of those plays where we don’t really practice, but we knew where each other were (on the ice) and have good chemistry," Ramthun said. "Maggie and I have been playing together for four years and she had the perfect pass."

The state title was the third for the Storm and first since 2012. The cooperative program, which was making a 10th straight state appearance, also won the title in 2008.

The state championship was the second for Pete Susens in his coaching career. He guided the Wausau West boys team to the title in 2011.

"It never gets old. It’s great," Susens said. "There’s a little more tears of joy (from the girls players) then the boys, but (the feeling of winning) is the same."

The state championship game marked the second time this winter that the Storm and Ice Bears battled into overtime. The two teams tied 1-1 on Jan. 28 in Green Bay, a game in which the Storm had a 43-6 shot advantage.

The two teams battled through two scoreless periods in which they went a combined 0-for-7 on the power play. The Storm’s Emma Kysely nearly gave the Storm the lead roughly five minutes into the third as she crossed the Ice Bears blueline and unleashed a shot which beat Bay Area goalie Ana Hozbach but hit flush off the crossbar.

Bay Area then won a faceoff in its zone and started a rush which resulted in a rebound goal by Talia Boyea about! 20 seconds after the nearmisss by Kysely.

"That’s the way high school hockey goes. Bounces go that way," Susens said. "(Bay Area) then got the puck to the net and were able to put it away. We kept battling and finally got the puck in."

The tying goal came off a high shot from Edmondson from from the high slot. Hozbach tried to cradle but couldn’t hold onto the puck. It dropped to the ice and bounced into the net to tie the score.

"We were just trying to get some shots on net and (Hozbach) is a really big goalie," said Edmondson, a junior forward. "I didn’t even see it go in at first."

Just one penalty was called in the third period but the Ice Bears were called for a pair in the opening 5:15 of overtime. The Storm came up empty on its opening five power plays but was able to get the puck down low to Ramthun on each opportunity and generate more than a few scoring chances.

Things finally clicked for the Storm on the sixth power play.

"We had got the puck to (Ramthun) but on the other side (of the net). This time we got the back door pass," Susens said. "Maggie looked and made a great pass an Katelyn got just enough on (the puck) to get it in."

Tim Johnson: 715-845-0731, or twjohnson@gannett.com; on Twitter @timmyjo11