BELOIT - The Rock County Fury's choice for the player of the game Tuesday night at Edwards Ice Arena was no secret.
Zoie Steig even had a crown of sorts.
After scoring three goals in an 8-0 romp over the Stoughton Co-op Icebergs, the Janesville Craig senior had the team's award resting on her head - a uniquely bedazzled hard hat autographed by previous winners.
"We give it out to a player who really shined during a game," a grinning Steig said. "I think my last hat trick came against this same team last year in the Pink the Rink game here."
One of nine seniors on the team, Steig was a member of the Fury's state-qualifying team two years ago as well as last season's sectional finalist. She says this year's team is the deepest of the three.
"We came out this season stronger than I expected," Steig said. " We improve every practice and every game we develop more and more, We have a lot of experience and the new players have been amazing, too."
The Fury (6-1-1) wasted no time jumping out in front of the Icebergs with Stieig scoring just 28 seconds into the contest on an assist by Ally Burke.
That was really all the offense the Fury really needed as senior goaltender McKaylie Buescher posted her fifth shutout of the season.
With just 13 saves, she won't have many quieter ones.
"The only thing is that you get cold when you don't have any action," said Buescher. "When you're cold and the puck comes down there, you can make easy mistakes so you have to try to keep warm."
Monroe freshman Anika Einbeck scored an unassisted goal with 2:40 left in the first period. Thirty-three seconds later, senior Maggy Henschler took a nice feed from Turner freshman Samantha Wells and scored to make it 3-0.
The Fury continued to skate circles around the Icebergs in the second period, tacking on four more goals. Einbeck added her second goal, Stieg finished off her hat trick by banging in a couple of rebounds and Haley Knauf made it 7-0 with a nice feed from Henschler in front of the goal.
The Fury's passing and teamwork has been one of their strongest assets.
"We have three very strong lines," Fury head coach Luke Steurer said. "We don't have to match up with our first line against the other team's first line as much. We can put our third line out with their first line and still compete. I'm not surprised with our depth. The girls have worked hard."
In addition to all their seniors, the Fury have added several talented newcomers. Sisters Alyssa Knauf and Haley Knauf from Albany joined the teams second line along with Einbeck.
"They're used to playing with each other and they've scored quite a few goals." Steurer said.
Buescher said the team began bonding over summer workouts.
"I think during the practices over the summer they got our style of play and then they eased right into it," the senior said. "They did a good job of it because it isn't easy to start playing with a bunch of new girls. Our chemistry is really good."
While the first six goals Tuesday were all even-strength, the Fury's last tally came with a five-four advantage off Abby Humphrey's stick.
By that time, Steurer had been utilizing his bench extensively.
"It was nice in the third period to get some kids in who don't normally get a lot of varsity minutes," Steurer said. "They can get their feet wet and we can see what they can do. Hopefully we can start working them into that third and fourth lines."
• NOTES: The Icebergs' goalies, Abby Seybold and McKenzie Nisius, combined for 51 saves. ...Rock County had only one penalty. ...Friday, the Fury will host Bay Area in Monroe. They tied 0-0 after regulation in the Arrowhead Tournament before Bay Area won a 3-2 shutout.