Lakeland’s Kate Vizanko works the puck in front of the net on Dec. 21 during the Thunderbird’s 7-3 victory over the Northern Edge. Vizanko had four assists on the night, giving her playmaker honors.
Lakeland’s Kate Vizanko works the puck in front of the net on Dec. 21 during the Thunderbird’s 7-3 victory over the Northern Edge. Vizanko had four assists on the night, giving her playmaker honors.
The Lakeland girls hockey team played its most complete game of the season Dec. 21 against the Rhinelander/Antigo co-op and easily handled the Northern Edge 7-3 at the Lakeland Ice Area.

While the loss of all-conference goalie Anna Maulson, out on suspension, could’ve been a critical chink in the Thunderbirds’ armor, Sagen Quale stepped in and made sure that was not the case.

Quale, a senior with very little game time experience, was fantastic, whether it was on break away showdowns in her face or long range slap shots through blinding traffic. She stopped 14 of 17 shots to contribute to the victory.

Meanwhile, Quale’s teammates took absolute control of the possession game and kept the puck on the offensive ice for most of the game.

Lakeland made great use of their time in the offensive zone. The Thunderbirds passed with precision and scored unceasingly.

Both Kate Vizanko and Isabelle Boyer recorded playmakers, which three or more assists. Callie Johnson and Ally Pairolero were both one goal away from hat tricks.

The game was a truly offensive storm that produced 57 Lakeland shots on Northern Edge goalie Alicia Turunen.

It started right away. Just more than three minutes into the game Kate Vizanko scored on assists from Isabelle Boyer and Callie Johnson and the Thunderbirds were up 1-0. Four minutes later Bri Carlin scored, assisted by Johnson and Vizanko, and the T-Birds were up 2-0. At the end of the period Ally Pairolero scored, assisted by Jenna Duranso, and Lakeland went into the first intermission with a commanding 3-0 lead.

In the second, the Northern Edge got one back right away as Taylee Tucker scored off an Emily Kassler assist, and the game was 3-1 Lakeland. That didn’t last long as Lakeland’s Johnson scored seven seconds later to reestablish a three-goal lead. Johnson then made it a four-goal lead two minutes later.

Then the Edge would mount a comeback and score two unanswered goals.

First, Jade Forster scored four and a half minutes into the second for the final goal of the period.

Then, coming out of the second intermission, with the score 5-2 Lakeland, the Edge’s Tucker scored her second goal of the game, off an assist from Lauren Kefalinos, and the contest got close at 5-3.

But a Boyer assisted goal by Pairolero and an empty netter by Boyer toward the end of the period would put the game back in Lakeland’s control and they would ride out the clock to take the victory 7-3.

Lakeland coach Steve Bucklew said the performance was brilliant.

“I thought maybe the smartest hockey game they played all year,” he said. “They all played great.”

It was a fairly clean game as well, with neither team committing many penalties. The Northern Edge was in the box for only two minutes on one infraction, while Lakeland spent four minutes in the box on only two infractions. Neither team was able to take advantage of a power play.

The victory improves Lakeland to 2-5 overall and 2-2 in the Great Northern Conference. The loss puts the Northern Edge at that exact same GNC record and 2-3 overall.

Next up for Lakeland is the Culver Cup tournament in Madison. Play began yesterday against St. Croix Valley Fusion. The tournament runs through Saturday.

Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@lakelandtimes.com or sports@lakelandtimes.com.