Fusion win another state title

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The Flathead Fusion 14U hockey team won its second-straight state championship last weekend in Bozeman.

The Flathead Lady Fusion 14U (15-3-1) hockey team capped off a great season this weekend at the state tournament in Bozeman, winning their second-straight gold in double overtime against a strong and fast Glasgow Ice Dawg team.

On Friday the No. 2-ranked Fusion beat a shorthanded 5-ranked Moscow squad 7-1 after giving up the first goal and coming from behind.

Later that afternoon, Fusion and rival No. 3 Bozeman Ice Dogs faced off for the sixth time this season. Ice Dogs took control for considerable time and led for about half the game before Kenzie Baker tied it up for the Fusion and eventually netted the game winner late in the third period with an Elizabeth Spradlin assist for a 4-3 win.

The semifinal saw the No. 4 Missoula Bruins coming out strong and scoring early in the game, putting the Fusion on catch up task once again.

Kenzie Baker netted yet another game winner, this one with 9.2 seconds remaining in regulation for a 2-1 final score and a place in the championship match up the following day vs the No. 1 ranked and undefeated Glasgow Ice Dawgs.

After giving up the first goal 12 minutes into the first period, the Fusion found themselves battling from behind again until Baker found the net for the equalizer with a minute left in the period, boosting team morale going into the final two periods of the game.

Nya Barber-Castro scored the second goal, assisted by Spradlin, followed by Glasgow’s answer minutes later that ended regulation time with the score tied 2-2.

After a first five-minute overtime period the teams were set to try and find a goal before facing a shoot out to determine the champion.

With three minutes left to play, Spradlin carried the puck into the zone, faked a defenseman to get a shot on net which the Glasgow goalie couldn’t get covered before Lexi Kersten pushed it by her into the net for the sudden death victory and the back-to-back championship banner.

With 14U hockey being played in Montana for just four years, this Lady Fusion team has captured three state titles and one second place.

Points earned over the weekends’ games came from Kenzie Baker with six goals, Liz Spradlin with two goals and three assists, Nya Barber-Castro, championship game MVP, with three goals and one assist, Mariah Dickey and Lexi Kersten with 2 goals apiece and Piper Linsom with an assist.

Linsom was solid in goal against Moscow with six saves on seven shots. Goalie Courtney Klemann, in her final year as a 14U player, was exceptional in the other contests including the final, facing 73 shots and saving all but six over the span of three games.

The Flathead Lady Fusion are coached by Cassie VandeVrede, Lini Reading, Dave Castro and Sage Staven.

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