MOSINEE – Pete Susens won 573 games in more than three decades as the coach of the Wausau West boys hockey team.
Susens notched victory No. 1 with the Central Wisconsin Storm girls program Friday.
The No. 3 Storm rolled to a 9-1 victory over No. 5 Eau Claire-Altoona in the semifinal of the Gobbler Cup tournament at the Mosinee Recreation Center. The win came in Susens’ first game coaching since retiring from West at the end of the 2013-14 season.
“It was fun,” Susens said of the return to the bench. “I wouldn’t have come back unless I missed it, and I have got great help from (Storm assistant coaches) Steve (Brown) and Dan (Bauer).”
Susens, who was named the Storm coach in June after Jana Wimmer stepped down, also has a potent lineup.
The Storm scored four times in the opening 15 minutes, 24 seconds and finished the game with four goals on special teams in the season opener.
Central Wisconsin faces top-ranked and defending WIAA state champion University School of Milwaukee in the tournament title game Saturday.
Eleven players had at least a point for the Storm, who finished with 34 shots on net.
Maggie Plaza, Emelia Edmondson and Sami Brown both scored twice, and Brown finished with a team-high four points.
“We have more depth than (Eau Claire-Altoona),” Susens said. “We were a little ragged the first couple minutes, but then we started making the simple little plays that led to goals.”
Emily Bauer, who finished with a goal and three points, scored just over five minutes into the game and then Storm scored three times in a span of 4:49 late in the first period.
The run began when Edmondson scored three seconds after the Storm killed off an Eau Claire-Altoona power play, and was followed by Plaza’s power-play goal 67 seconds later.
Central Wisconsin went 3-for-3 on the power play, and added a shorthanded goal with two seconds left in regulation.
“We have a good power-play unit this year,” said Bauer, who assisted on Plaza’s power-play goal in the first period. “We just want to make sure we figure everything out (on the ice), move the puck well and hopefully score lots of goals.”
Sophomores Chloe Westberg and Athena Kayler combined for 17 saves in the win for the Storm. Westberg played the first two periods before Kayler played the third.
“Its early in the year and both Chloe and Athena are pretty inexperienced in terms of playing high school hockey,” Susens said. “We will see how things shake out as the year goes along.”
Abigail Stow scored the lone goal for Eau Claire-Altoona, coming 21 seconds after Edmondson scored four minutes into the second period to give the Storm a 5-0 lead.
Stow’s goal started a stretch of about four minutes when the Stars dominated the action, and ended when Elizabeth Bauer scored a power-play goal to give the Storm a 6-1 lead..
“It is only natural to relax (with the lead),” Susens said. “We didn’t do the little things we had done (earlier) to get control of the game. When we do (the little things), I think we will be a pretty good hockey team.”
ECA 0 1 0 — 1
Storm 4 2 3 — 9
First period: 1. CW, Emily Bauer (Katelynn Ramthun), 5:03. 2. CW, Emelia Edmondson (Sami Brown, Teagan Tretter), 10:45. 3. CW, Maggie Plaza (Em. Bauer, Katelynn Schilling), 11:53 (pp). 4. CW, Plaza (Taylor True), 15:24.
Second period: 5. CW, Edmondson (Brown), 3:58. 6. ECA, Abigail Stow, 4:19. 7. CW, Elizabeth Bauer (True), 9:20 (pp).
Third period: 8. CW, Ramthun (Em. Bauer), 7:15. 9. CW, Brown (Jamie Henrickson), 8:48 (pp). 10. CW, Brown (Teagan Tretter, True), 16:58 (sh).
Saves: ECA, Miranda Bestul 7-10-8-25; CW, Chloe Westberg 3-7-x-10; Athena Kayler x-x-7-7.