Natalie Buss

Badger Lightning's Natalie Buss awaits for the puck at a practice on Thursday.

CHRIS FLORES/News Republic

REEDSBURG — The Badger Lightning girls hockey team matched its opponent in shots that didn’t go in on Friday night, but it was the shots that did light the lamp where the Mauston-based co-op fell short in its season opener.

The Lightning fell 7-2 to the Cedarburg-based Lakeshore Lightning at Reedsburg Area Community Arena.

With a couple of players getting their first taste of competition in the sport, it was a learning curve for the Badger Lightning, but the team was still able to mount a respectable offense. Badger was only outshot 32-26 on the night, with new goalie Natalie Buss saving 25 shots.

“It was a very evenly played game,” Badger coach Sara Durst said. “Today was Natalie’s debut not only as a hockey player but as a goalie, so honestly she played amazing. She definitely has a couple of things to learn, and more so getting used to the goalie position more than anything else. It’s only going to go up from here for her. I have really high hopes.”

Junior Lizzie Patton gave Badger a 1-0 lead in the opening period, finding the back of the net at the 14:30 mark off assists from sophomores Kaylee Engel and Baylee Babcock. Lakeshore took over from there however, taking a 3-1 lead into the first break before scoring twice more in the second period and adding another two goals to start the third.

“They had a couple of really good shots. Those are inevitable,” Durst said. “And they also had a couple of luckier goals.”

With 8 minutes to go, Engel ended the night on a positive note with a goal off a pass from Babcock.

“Honestly, the whole game, the girls had a really good team morale,” Durst said. “They kept their spirits up and skated hard through the entire game.”

Badger will travel to Madison on Tuesday to take on the Metro Lynx before hosting Rock County next Thursday at Poppy Waterman Arena in Baraboo.

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Regional Sports Reporter