A third gathering with the Cap City Cougars was not intended to be for the Rock County Fury.
No third competition conflict this season. No third straight gathering in a sectional final.
Third-seeded Onalaska thwarted the Fury’s expectations of that Tuesday night. The Hilltoppers bounced back from a mid two-goal shortfall to top the second-seeded Fury 4-3 out of a WIAA sectional semifinal girls hockey game at Edwards Ice Arena.
Rock County, the area’s co-op high school team, completed the season with a 14-10-2 record subsequent to losing to Onalaska for a second time. The two games saw the Fury assemble a 2-0 lead that they couldn’t hold.
“We got ahead like we did in the regular season, but (this time) we played our butts off, I think, the whole game. We didn’t let down like we did in the regular season,” Fury head coach Luke Steurer said. “It definitely wasn’t for a lack of effort or trying.”
Alyssa Knauf gave the Fury a two-goal lead by scoring twice in the opening 8 minutes, 19 seconds. She got her first on a power play off feeds from Haley Knauf and Anika Einbeck, and Haley got the help on the second, as well.
The Hilltoppers jumped on the scoreboard with less than five minutes in the first period, but they took over the game in the second.
There, senior Kaley Manglitz—who completed with two goals and two helps—made it 2-2 by scoring on a four-on-four circumstance in the opening minutes. A little more than four minutes into the period, she nourished Kiya Bronston for an in need of help goal that gave the Hilltoppers their first lead.
“The second period, they definitely came out a little bit harder than we did. … They got a couple goals that got the momentum for them,” Steurer said. “Statistically, the second period is usually ours a little bit more, but they just came and wanted it a little bit more.”
Haley Knauf got her very own goal while the Fury were in need of help, tying the game midway during that time period.
Yet, Onalaska recaptured the lead with under seven minutes left when Manglitz took advantage of a turnover in the Fury zone.
Rock County had multiple close calls at tying the game in the third period, regardless of taking and killing off eight minutes worth of punishments. The Fury missed out on a shorthanded breakaway possibility with under three minutes left and furthermore observed a shot redirect over the goalie’s shoulder but deflect harmless past the post.
“We took a bunch of penalties in the third period,” Steurer said. “That’s how it goes. We just tried to play through them, but I think we got a little tired from killing the penalties.”
Rather than the Fury getting a third straight possibility at playing the Cap City Cougars in a sectional final, it will be Onalaska meeting the co-op out of Sun Prairie on Friday night in Madison.
ONALASKA 4, ROCK COUNTY 3
Onalaska 1 3 0—4
Rock County 2 1 0—3