The Madison Metro Lynx girls hockey co-op’s brutal schedule this season features at least one ranked team just about every week. Last week the schedule brought the fourth-ranked Cap City Cougars co-op to Madison Ice Arena.
“This is a big rivalry,” coach Mike McKersie said. “I would say just about every girl on our team knows every girl on their team and vice versa. They’ve competed against each other coming up all through youth hockey.”
The Metro Lynx (1-4-0 overall, 1-1-0 Badger Conference) have another tough conference test against the previously ranked Rock County Fury (2-3-0, 0-0-0) at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 18, following games against Brookfield (0-7-0) and Viroqua (2-1-0, 1-0-0).
“I think eight of the top 10 teams are on our schedule this year,” McKersie said. “It’s going to be a great opportunity for us to grow and learn from our mistakes.”
Cougars 4, Lynx 0
Patience. It’s what first-year coach Mike McKersie has been preaching all season, and something he reiterated again on Thursday following a 4-0 loss against the Cap City Cougars.
“We know there are a lot of new things flying at them,” he said. “This is a long season. We’ve got all the way into late February to get ready for the playoffs. Attitude and effort are the only two things the girls can control right now, and they’ve done a nice job of it.”
Trying to find a spark, the Lynx coaching staff has been moving lines around and tried some different defensive combinations. It’s all about trying to find out what fits, McKersie said.
Early on, the Cougars were able to capitalize on a couple defensive breakdowns by the Lynx.
The Metro Lynx defense lost track of Cap City forward Elizabeth Hansen 11 ½ minutes into the first period and the senior tapped home an empty-net rebound inside Madison Ice Arena. It was a microcosm of the defensive problems McKersie said the Lynx are experiencing right now in front their goal.
“We got on the wrong side of their player and they made us pay for it,” he said.
Senior goaltender Gwen Parker found pucks through traffic and finished with 40 saves, but McKersie said the Lynx need to do more in front of her.
“Out of the last 10 goals she’s given up, I would say seven of the were rebound goals, and the others were either breakaways or 2-on-0,” he said.
Junior defenseman Mackenzie Rosin pushed the Cougars lead to 2-0 with a power-play goal in the second period. Junior forward Zephryn Jager and sophomore forward Amanda Bauer each had a goal and assist for Cap City.
Cap City senior goaltender Jenna Jager stopped 12 shots on goal.
It was the second time the Lynx have been shut out by a top 10 team this season, falling 4-0 to the University School of Milwaukee in the season opener.
“Today I thought we actually generated some more quality scoring chances,” he said. “We had several opportunities, but fundamentally we’re not connecting on passes and we’re creating a lot of unforced turnovers when we have people open, which is negating a lot of quality scoring chances right now.”
Arrowhead 4, Lynx 1
The Metro Lynx allowed three first period power-play goals Friday and were never able to dig themselves out of the hole, falling 4-1 at nonconference Arrowhead.
Ava Downing scored the only goal for the Lynx 17 seconds after the host Warhawks scored to tie the game 1-1 in the 10th minute of play. Arrowhead closed out the period with power-play goals at 13:03 and 16:39 inside the Howard G. Mullett Ice Center and added an even-strength goal late in the second period to ice the win.
Freshman goaltender Camryn McKersie stopped 12 of 16 shots on goal for the Metro Lynx. Emma Tate turned away 16 of 17 for Arrowhead.