In the first of two weekend home games against opponents from the Wausau area, the University School boys’ hockey team defeated D.C. Everest 4-2 in a non-conference game on Friday, December 1st.
Jason Woods, USM’s head coach said, “A really nice win for our program. Everest is really talented, with one of the best goalies I have seen. We knew we had to keep the pressure on him and hope he cracked. We were relentless in our efforts and were finally rewarded in the third. Our goalie, Patrick Kelly, was excellent when tested, and our defensemen, both as a team, but specifically on the back end, are incredibly special. Casey Roepke, Kylar Fenton, Alex Thundercloud, and Charlie Keough were just outstanding, both protecting the net and moving the puck up ice. A great win that we can celebrate for about five minutes and then start preparing for a stern test against Wausau West tomorrow.”
The Evergreens scored first in the contest. JJ Bergdahl took a shot from the point. The puck rebounded off USM’s goalie into the slot, where Everest’s Ryan Begley spotted it, swatted it, and slotted it past Kelly at 5:19 of the first period.
The Wildcats tied the game at 1-1 about five minutes later. Robby Newton collected a loose puck in the center of the USM blue line. He zipped a pass across center ice, leading Andrew Malek into the Everest zone. Malek dipped his shoulder to fend off a defenseman. He curled around the defender, and skated toward Michael Janke, the Evergreens’ goalie. Nearing the crease, Malek potted a shot for the goal at 10:28.
The game continued with fury through the second period, but no further goals were scored until early in the third period, when USM took the lead for good.
The Wildcats went ahead 2-1 while on a power play. Taking a faceoff in the Everest left circle, Christian Blomquist drew the puck back to the point to Newton. Newton skated in and fired a shot at Janke. The rebound caromed to Malek near the right post and he flipped it in at 3:14.
It did not take long for USM to score again. Blake Carey pulled the puck from a scrum just inside the Everest blue line, and skated toward Janke. He powered a shot past the goalie from the left circle at 3:40. Newton and Malek were awarded assists on the play.
USM made it 4-1 at 10:17. Fenton got the puck in the Wildcats’ zone and headed up ice. He backhanded a pass to Tyler Herberg who was cutting across the Everest blue line. Herzberg gratefully accepted the pass, skated in, and rifled a shot past Janke to build USM’s lead.
The Evergreens scored their second goal at 14:44. Bergdahl raced to a loose puck in the USM left corner. He zipped a pass out front to Begley who one-timed a shot past Kelly for the goal.
But it was too late for the Evergreens to score again, and the Wildcats and their fans celebrated another victory.
Casey Roepke, an assistant captain on the USM team, commented on the game, “The boys came out firing and played with grit and grind tonight. We had a good showing from our student section, which really gave the guys energy. From a playing stand point, this group is special. Everyone on this team plays for the name on the front of the jersey and are buying into the deep traditions of being a Wildcat. This team has a special bond, and I am proud to be a part of it. This team will go out there every game and put up a battle. We out shot our opponent by a large margin and moved the puck very well. We are off to a great start, but today is over now we focus on the next opponent.”
D.C. Everest is now 2-1. The Evergreens continue their trip to Milwaukee with a game against Marquette at the able Ice Arena in Brookfield at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 2nd.
USM is 4-1. The Wildcats play Wausau West in a non-conference game at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 2nd at USM.