Injury bug leads to Spartans’ strugglesThe Superior High School girls hockey team is having one of those seasons that you would like to soon forget.
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
The Superior High School girls hockey team is having one of those seasons that you would like to soon forget.
The Spartans started the season with a new coach and a very young roster but had high hopes of turning around a program that has struggled the past couple of seasons.
Once SHS coach Ernie Harker got his lines set, the team went a respectable 1-1-1 in the Siren holiday tournament.
In Siren the Spartans defeated Ashland 6-0, tied 1-1 with Black River Falls and lost to Webster Co-op 4-0.
After that weekend the bottom fell out.
“The injury bug hit us bad, we lost five of our regular players,” Harker said. “Injuries included back problems from a check from behind, a concussion, a torn groin and a shoulder and ankle injury. Needless to say, this caused a big shake up to our lineup.”
Just as the Spartans pushed forward trying to find new line chemistry in the midst of all the injuries, two other regular players, a goaltender and one of the team’s leading scorers, quit the team.
“This should have been our biggest setback, but it really helped to pull the remaining players together,” Harker said. “Even though we haven’t been able to play consistent and be competitive for an entire game, I still see many positive things that will help us in the future. Once we get everything sorted out, and start finding the back of the net, we will be better.”
The Spartans’ record fell to 3-15-1 and their losing streak reached eight games last week losses to Webster, 5-2; and Silver Bay, 10-1.
On Jan. 31 against Webster, Superior got goals from Ari Jago, assisted from Kelsey Hansen, and freshman Jordyn Thompson.
“I felt we played a pretty good first period outshooting Webster 9-8,” Harker said. “The period ended tied up 1-1, but the wheels fell off during the second period for some reason and the Blizzard score three unanswered goals and outshot us 8-3.
“The players came out and decided to leave everything on the ice in the third period. We looked like a totally different team with some nice passing and a great regroup/transition.
“I feel we out played the Blizzard, outshooting them 8-5, we just struggled to find the back of the net and they managed to catch us pinching the offensive zone and score on a breakaway.”
Sarah Runser stopped 21 shots for Superior while Paige Young had 20 saves for the Blizzard.
The Spartans then hosted Silver Bay Thursday night with senior Kaitlyn Mergen scoring Superior’s lone goal with an assist from Kari Miller.
“We did manage to get some shots on net, outshooting them 22-18, but we have really struggled to find the back of the net,” Harker said.
The Spartans will hold “Senior Night” when they host Ashland at 8 p.m. Thursday. Seniors honored will be Mergen, Hansen, Jordan Buhr, Taylor Thompson and Runser.
SPARTAN SPIN: The SHS band and dance team will perform Thursday night. This game is also being called “White Out” night and all fans are encouraged to wear white to the game. … All youth hockey players wearing their jerseys will get into the game free. … Donations will also be collected for “Hunger Takes No Holiday.” For every dollar donated, Second Harvest Food Bank will turn that into $10 of food for those in need, including the Superior food shelves.