Nathan Jurrens scored two third-period goals to lead Verona to a come-from-behind 4-3 victory over Edgewood on Monday, Nov. 25, at LaBahn Arena in Madison.
Jurrens scored the game-tying goal on assists by junior forward Leo Renlund and senior forward Cale Rufenacht at the 4:43 mark of the final period. The junior defenseman delivered the game-winner on a pass by junior forward Walker Haessig at 11:41.
“It feels great to win as a team first time out,” Jurrens said. “I couldn’t have got set up if it wasn’t for my teammates. All I had to do was fill in the spot and take the shot. I give them all the credit for those.”
Verona coach Joel Marshall said the Wildcats are trying to find out who will be “the guy that scores a game-winner and makes that big play when we need it.” Jurrens staked his claim in the season opener.
“He’s a dynamic defender for us with a lot of speed and poise,” Marshall said of Jurrens. “I think after losing one of the state’s top scorers from last year (Mack Keryluk), I think it will be a team effort for us this year. We have three lines that are strong.”
The Crusaders had a shot clang off the post in the final 3:30, but Verona held on.
“I think there are moments where we have to be a little bit tougher to win games like that,” Edgewood coach Pete Rothering said. “I would rather win than lose. If this teaches us what we need to learn for February, then I will take it.”
Early on, The game had the makings of a shootout early on. The Wildcats (1-0) struck first on Haessig’s goal 32 seconds into the first period on assists by Renlund and Rufenacht.
The Crusaders (0-1) took advantage of Verona penalty, as sophomore forward J.J. Wiebusch scored a power-play goal on an assist by sophomore forward Aidan Lenz at the 10:21 mark of the first. Wiebusch scored on assists from Lenz and Nathan Walker at 12:54 to give the Crusaders a 2-1 lead.
Verona finished with 10 penalties compared to seven for Edgewood.
“As a coach we see it every year, the refs call more early to set the tone,” Marshall said. “We have some things to work on from the discipline end. We weathered the storm and battled back. They have a couple of dynamic players and we struggled with their extra attacker.”
The Wildcats answered less than two minutes later, with senior forward Parker Ploc scoring on passes from freshmen forwards Reece Codray and Conrad Moline at 14:18 to tie the game at 2.
Edgewood regained the lead on Lenz’s goal at the 14:13 mark of the second period.