The University School boys’ hockey team scored four goals in the third period to break open a close game and defeat Waunakee 6-1 in the opening round of the Paul Meyer Memorial Tournament played on November 29th at USM.
The Wildcats took a one goal lead at 10:24 of the first period when Noah Eghbali took a pass from Blake Carey and skated in and scored the season’s first goal.
USM went ahead 2-0 at 9:47 of the second period on an unassisted goal by Tyler Herzberg.
Waunakee kept it close by scoring in the last minute of the second period. Drew Christianson scored the goal at 16:27 on assists by Steven Pasinato and Tyler Hoffman.
So, as the game entered the third period, it was still anyone’s to win. But in the final period, the defending state champions made sure of the victory.
Blake Carey, one of USM’s captains, explained, “We battled through some struggles and adversity in the first two periods. The boys came back with some energy after we changed lines to get a spark. We came with a high energy third period and played to our potential. The guys came up big with some big battle wins. I love the effort, and we will move forward to get better. It was great to get a win tonight, and we plan to build on the first win of the year.”
Alex Thundercloud began the Wildcats third period onslaught by scoring a goal off passes by TJ Fenton and Everett Cox just 4:55 into the frame.
Peter Ells, with helpers by Carey and Herzberg, made it 4-1 at 8:32.
Then at 10:37, Herzberg scored his second goal of the contest on assists by Thundercloud and Carey, giving USM a convincing lead.
The Wildcats also gave the home fans a power play goal to cheer about at 15:29. Jacob Como scored it thanks to assists by Thundercloud and Carey.
Carey ended up with four assists in the game. USM’s goaltender Patrick Kelly made 16 saves in the contest. Waunakee’s goalie, Ben Luebke stopped 25 of the Wildcats’ 31 attempts.
After the game, Jason Woods, USM’s head coach, commented on the result, “A really good test to start the year. Waunakee is a solid, up and coming, program and we had a great battle. It’s no question that with so many new players seeing varsity minutes, we are a work in progress, but I really like our resolve. We put together one heck of a third period and grew in the process. Tomorrow is another opportunity to grow, and we look forward to another unreal test versus Verona.”
Waunakee is now 1-1. The Warriors will play Bay Port in the tournament’s consolation game at USM at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 30th.
USM is 1-0. As Woods noted, the Wildcats take on Verona in the tournament’s championship game at 7:00 p.m. on November 30th at USM.