Three area girls will compete in WIAA state hockey tournament

A pair of Glenwood City sisters and a Boyceville girl will be showcasing their hockey skills in the WIAA State Girls’ Hockey Championships in Madison this Friday, March 7.

Glenwood City’s Nikki and Natalie Gabbert along with Rachal Anderson of Boyceville are varsity members of the St. Croix Valley Fusion co-op hockey team.

The squad features members from Baldwin-Woodville, Boyceville, Glenwood City, River Falls and St. Croix Central High Schools.

The Fusion, currently 18-7-1, qualified for the 2014 WIAA State Girls’ Hockey Championship with trio of tournament wins. St. Croix Valley Co-op scored a 3-1 win over the Eau Claire North/Altoona Stars in the February 22 sectional quarterfinals. Then last Tuesday, February 25, the Fusion blanked defending state champion and fourth-ranked Hayward 3-0 in the sectional semifinal game. This past Friday evening (Feb. 28), the Fusion stayed on a roll and whitewashed the Superior Spartans by a 5-0 score to punch their state ticket to Madison.

The St. Croix Valley Co-op is no stranger to the state tournament having won three consecutive state championships from 2009-2011. The 2013-14 Fusion are slated to play the Onalaska Co-op (18-7) in the second semifinal on Friday afternoon (approximately 2:15 p.m.) held at the Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum-Alliant Energy Center in Madison. DC Everest Co-op (22-4-1) will face off against the Green Bay East Co-op (24-1) in the first semifinal at noon Friday. The winners will meet in the championship game at noon on Saturday, March 8.

The Gabberts and Anderson all play the forward position. Rachal Anderson, a junior, has five goals and a pair of assists on the season. Nikki Gabbert, also a junior, has an assist while her younger sibling Natalie, a freshman, has registered four goals and three assists.

The Fusion finished second in the Big Rivers Conference this season with a 4-2 record. Hudson won the title with a 6-0 mark. Chippewa Falls/Menomonie and Eau Claire/Altoona co-ops both finished at 1-5. St. Croix Valley plays its home games at the United Civic Center in Baldwin and the Wildcat Centre in River Falls.

The Fusion are coached by Matt Cranston, Carl Erickson and Ann Rock.

The girls’ and boys’ finals will be televised live on WQOW Eau Claire and WXOW La Crosse.