Momentum is not with the Rock County Fury as they prepare for their most important game of the season.
The area’s girls hockey co-op continued its recent offensive slump Friday, when the Fury lost 3-1 to Wisconsin Valley Union in a nonconference game at Janesville Ice Arena.
Rock County (12-9-2) has been limited to one goal in four of its last six games. The Fury are 1-4-1 during that stretch.
“We’ve struggled with that just about all season—getting that fast start,” Rock County coach Luke Steurer said. “We’ve had a probably a handful of games where we’ve actually put a complete game together.”
The Fury travel to Sun Prairie on Monday to face the Cap City Cougars in a de facto Badger Conference title game. The two conference unbeatens played to a 0-0 tie Dec. 13 in Beloit.
Rock County would repeat as league champion with a win or tie in its regular-season finale.
“We know it’s going to be a physical game like the last one,” Steurer said.
“It’s kind of been a rivalry and (the league has) come down to this the last few years.”
Shelby Tryba had two goals and an assist Friday and Pistol Cowden made 28 saves for Wisconsin Valley (9-10-1), which snapped a two-game losing streak.
Tryba, a Stevens Point Pacelli sophomore, scored less than three minutes into the game and then set up Wisconsin Valley’s second goal midway through the second period. Lauryn Broecker cleaned up a rebound after Tryba’s dangerous backhanded shot was stopped by Rock County goalie Olivia Cronin.
Mya Maslonka pulled the Fury within a goal with 9:16 left, when she weaved through a pair of defenders and wristed a shot over Cowden’s glove. It was Maslonka’s ninth goal of the season, and the first for the Janesville Craig junior since Jan. 10.
That was the only blemish against Cowden, who also denied a breakaway attempt by Alyssa Knauf midway through the second period and a point-blank shot from Maslonka with about three minutes remaining.
“We can take a lot away from that,” Steurer said of his team’s play during the third period. “We were playing great offensively and were able to get a goal.”
Tryba added an empty-net goal with 42 seconds left to ensure Wisconsin Valley’s victory.
WISCONSIN VALLEY 3, ROCK COUNTY 1
Wis. Valley 1 1 1—3
Rock County 0 0 1—1
WV—Shelby Tryba, 2:28.
WV—Lauryn Broecker (Tryba), 13:23.
RC—Mya Maslonka (Haley Knauf, Sara Nerad), 7:44. WV—Tryba (Alayna Bruneau), 16:18.
Saves—Pistol Cowden (WV) 28, Olivia Cronin (RC) 21.