Patrick Kelly’s shutout gave the University School boys’ hockey team a 4-0 victory over Mosinee in the consolation game of the Sentry Classic Hockey Tournament on Saturday, January 7th at the K.B. Willett Ice Arena in Stevens Point.
Kelly made 22 saves in the game. Senior Nick Epperson scored two goals, and junior Will Kennedy and sophomore Andrew Malek tallied one apiece to help the freshman goaltender achieve the first shutout of his varsity career.
Jason Woods, USM’s head coach, commented on the game, “It’s good to get back in the win column after a tough loss last night. Patrick Kelly was able to get his first career shutout, and our re-shuffled lines and did some good things. Now we have our sights set on a big game at home against Marquette. It’s going to be nice to play one in our building. I know the guys are hungry and looking forward to it.”
The Wildcats outshot Mosinee 31-22 in the game, but the shot totals in the first period were nearly equal, 11-10. The difference was due to USM’s first goal, the only score in the period.
The Wildcats scored that goal late in the frame. Forechecking in the Indians’ zone, senior Brandon McGill tussled for the puck along the right boards. He popped it away, and it bounced toward Geisness in the slot. Geisness stepped toward it and knocked it past a defender to Epperson, who was skating out of the right corner. Epperson caught the pass, and like a freight train, he hustled across the top of the crease and past Zach Bednar, Mosinee’s senior goalie. Epperson then shoveled a shot into the open side of the goal at 14:22.
A Mosinee penalty in the last seconds of the first period allowed the Wildcats to start the second period on the power play. They made the most of the opportunity. From the opening faceoff, they skated the puck into the Indians’ zone and moved it around. They took two shots that Bednar stopped, forcing faceoffs, but the Wildcats’ kept the power play pressure cooker on high. Eventually the puck went to Geisness on the left mid-boards. He saw junior Kylar Fenton moving in from the right point and sent a pass toward him. The puck hit a defender’s skate and caromed toward the net. Kennedy was stationed near the crease. He turned on the puck and slapped it under Bednar at 1:14.
Epperson’s second goal increased USM’s lead late in the period. As the Indians were changing, freshman defenseman Casey Roepke sent a long pass from the USM end to Geisness at the Mosinee blue line. Geisness skated across the line and watched Epperson hastening all alone toward the net. Geisness accurately feathered a backhand pass to Epperson’s stick. Epperson pulled it to his right and stuffed a backhander past the diving goalie at 13:49.
The Wildcats scored their final goal of the game at 9:59 of the third period. Malek won a battle for the puck in the left corner of the Mosinee zone. He skated behind the net then quickly curled around the far post to score a wraparound goal.
As a result of the victory, USM is now 7-4 overall. The Wildcats hold an 0-2 mark in the Classic Eight Conference. They hope to finally gain a conference win on Tuesday, January 10th when they take on arch-rival Marquette. The opening faceoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at USM.