The St. Croix Valley Fusion girls hockey team were playing in its first sectional final since 2016 against Chippewa Falls/Menomonie Saturday.
The two teams split during the regular season each winning at its home arena. The second-seeded Fusion had the benefit of playing Saturday’s final in one of its arenas (River Falls).
Behind the play of Sidney Polzin, the Sabers put the game away with three goals in the third period, clinching the Sabers’ first-ever state trip with a 7-4 victory.
The senior scored four goals and added an assist. Three of her goals were even strengths and the fourth was an empty netter in the game’s final minute.
The Sabers never trailed. They scored two goals in the first period and added two more in the second.
The Fusion responded in the second as Kendall Sundby scored twice and Jenna Bergmanis scored once, making the score 4-3.
Bergmanis scored the Fusion’s lone goal on a power play in the third period.
Jaden Woiwode and Makenzie Weiss assisted on the goals.
The Fusion outshot Chippewa Falls/Menomonie 32-21. Caroline O’Dell stopped 28 Fusion shots to earn the win. Olivia Dumond stopped 11 Saber shots.
The Fusion finished 12-7. They will be saying goodbye to Dumond, Woiwode, Juneau Paulsen, Jadyn Erickson and Tyann Mittl,
Sundby had team-high 16 goals, including 13 in the last seven games. Bergmanis was second with 12, followed by Paulsen’s 11. Trinity Mittl ended up with the most assists (13), while Sundby recorded the most points (25).
Fusion blank Hudson
The Fusion faced Hudson for the fourth time in the sectional semifinal Feb. 9 and earned the biggest win of the four, a 3-0 win.
The Fusion scored the three goals in a variety of ways – power play, short-handed and even strength.
Kendall Sundby broke the scoreless tie with a goal late in the first period. Makenzie Weiss and Kiara Therriault had the assists. Tyann MIttl scored in the second period short-handed with Sundby on the assist. Sundby wrapped up the scoring on a power play empty netter in the game’s final minute.
Olivia Dumond stopped 21 Raider shots to earn the win. The Fusion defense was also outstanding, blanking Hudson on all three power play opportunities.