Ice Bears Lose State Title to D.C. Everest in Overtime

Madison Polack, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

The Ice Bears took second in the WIAA state girls hockey tournament at the Alliant Center in Madison, Wisconsin, on Saturday, March 4. Leading 1-0 in the final minutes of the game and seeing the way Ana Holzbach was playing in goal, it looked like the Ice Bears would win their second state title and first since 2014.

However, with about 2:30 minutes left in the game, D.C. Everest tied the game to go into overtime. The Green Bay area hockey team ended up losing to D.C. Everest Storm in overtime 1-2.

The Ice Bears co-op team includes many NDA students, including sophomores Autumn Klemencic  and Abby Comar; juniors Danielle Reince, Abby Anderson and Ana Holzbach; and seniors Kira Gunville and Megan Saari.

The team’s coaching staff consists of the following: Brandon Erkkila, head coach, and assistant coaches Andrew Stillwell, Alexa Jacobsen, Lauren Roethlisberger and Zach Krysiak, goalie coach.

Junior Delaney Butterfield said, “This season was really great because we had an amazing group of seniors that were strong leaders. Even though the 27 of us are from six different schools, we all meshed well as a team.”

Junior Ana Holzbach was recognized as an all-state goalie for her outstanding season and performance in the state tournament. She said, “I was completely honored! I had no words. When I heard my name being called out for being first team all state, I was almost in tears.”

Holzbach won another award called the Jessie Vetter Award, which was handed out to the best goaltender in the state.

“I have grabbed everyone’s attention, and they now know who I am and where I am from because of my all-state award. I believe I represented NDA very well this season,” said Holzbach.

She mentioned that this season was really special and one she will always remember. In addition, she explained how before each game the team would quiet down and each individual player would think of what they were going to do to help the team.

“What was special for me this 2016-2017 season is that I dedicated the season to my family, friends, mentors, coaches and also my teachers here at Notre Dame Academy. They supported me every step of the way and were a reason why I did very well this season,” said the goalie.

The team’s trip to state will be one that the players will never forget. The team had a little chip on their shoulders because no one expected them to be at state. The goal for many of the players was just to play at the Alliant Energy Center, and many focused on that goal all season. Holzbach said that playing against Hayward the first round was very loud. She had never played a game that intense or heard the crowds roaring in the stands before.

“When we scored those two goals in the span of three minutes,” she explained,  “I was sad but happy at the same time. When that final horn sounded, my team all piled on top of me and of course I fell over. We were in tears, we would get to play another game, and this time it was for the state championship.”

The players were prepared to battle the #1 ranked team in the state of Wisconsin to win the title. When they scored the first goal, everyone on the bench was loud and excited. The team was doing well. However, being only two minutes away from holding the state championship trophy up, the other team scored at the 1:55 minute mark of the third period. In overtime, the Ice Bears ended up falling just short.

However, the Ice Bears, known as the underdogs the whole entire season, finished as the WIAA State Runner Up. They really surprised a lot of people this year. Their final record for the 2016-17 season was 22-4-3.