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Here's what to watch for in Badger Conference girls hockey

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The 2022-2023 high school hockey season brings many intriguing prospects for the Badger Conference.

In the Madison area, all teams are in the Badger Conference, which contains many schools that participate in the seven-team league.

The Badger Lightning is a Baraboo co-op that includes players from Reedsburg, Wisconsin Dells, Sauk Prairie and Elroy. Beaver Dam is a co-op that includes teams from Dodgeland, Horicon, Hustisford and Wayland Academy. The Icebergs is the Stoughton co-op that has players from Deerfield, Evansville, Lodi, McFarland, Monona Grove, Oregon and Parkview. The Metro Lynx is the Middleton co-op, which is a seven-school co-op (Dodgeville, Madison Edgewood, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Mount Horeb, Verona). And the other area team is the Cap City Cougars, which is the Sun Prairie co-op that includes players from DeForest, Madison East, Madison La Follette and Waunakee.

Here is a breakdown of the conference.

Badger Conference

Who’s in it: Badger Lightning, Beaver Dam co-op, Icebergs, Madison Metro Lynx, Rock County, Cap City Cougars, Viroqua.

Favorite: Metro Lynx will be the favorites after winning the conference title with an 11-0 record. Beaver Dam co-op coach Paul Uttech said the Lynx have a loaded roster with skilled players and depth at all positions. The Metro Lynx advanced to the WIAA state semifinals last season. 

Contenders: Uttech said you could repeat everything he said about the Lynx to use to describe the Cougars in Sun Prairie.

Things to know: There are 11 all-conference players returning from last season, and eight of them are from the area.

Cap City junior Keegan Sanderfoot, a first-team forward, returns after a sophomore season that saw her produce 21 goals and 12 assists during the regular season and four goals in the postseason. She will have a couple teammates return who were all-conference players, including senior Rachel Robbins, a second-team defenseman, and senior Izzy Hahn, an honorable mention selection.

The Lightning’s Kayla Carpener was a first-team all-conference forward as well as an honorable mention All-State player; she led her team in goals and assists the past two seasons, including 16 goals and 22 assists last season. The Lightning will have 26 players — the most since the 2011-2012 season, according to coach Rick Carpener, who said just five years ago the Lightning only fielded nine players. Having 26 players should give the Lightning a deeper bench and better legs for speed late in games.

The Lynx return Grace Bonnell, a senior who was a second-team defenseman, but lost three first-team players in goalie Abby Nutini, forward Rachel Mirwald and defenseman Ally Jacobson. Some interesting dates to look for will be Dec. 2 and Jan. 9 when the Lynx and Cougars match up.

Follow Mark McMullen on Twitter @mmcmull2 or contact him at 920-356-6754.

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