Traditionally, during the first weekend of December, the University School boys’ hockey team has a weekend series against teams from Wausau. In 2019, it was D.C. Everest's and Wausau West’s turn to travel south and take on the defending state champions at USM. In the game on Friday, December 6th, The Wildcats defeated D.C. Everest 5-1.
In the non-conference clash, Tyler Herzberg scored three goals and Jacob Como scored two goals to lead the Wildcats to victory. Grant Oertel scored the Evergreens’ goal.
The Wildcats outshot their northern visitors 43-17 in the contest. Ethan Hurt made 38 saves for Everest, while Patrick Kelly stopped 16 of the Evergreens’ attempts. Each team had 5 power play opportunities, but each team’s penalty killers made them moot.
Before all the fans in attendance had settled into their seats, Herzberg opened the scoring. From the left point of the Everest zone, Como sent the puck around the boards to Herzberg in the right corner. Herzberg wheeled out around the top of the near circle and fired a wrist shot past Ethan Hurt, DC Everest’s goalie, just 1:35 into the game.
Herzberg’s second goal at 6:27 of the first period gave USM a two-goal lead. As the Wildcats forechecked, Blake Carey got the puck and passed it out to Alex Thundercloud at the left point. Thundercloud danced to the center of the blue line, then fired a low shot. Hurt stopped it, but Herzberg was parked in front like a shiny new car, and he jabbed it under the sprawling goalie for the goal.
USM made it 3-0 at 7:23 of the second period while short-handed. Reid Woods tipped the puck away from a defenseman at the USM blue line. He skated after it in center ice, got it and headed down the right side into the Evergreens’ zone. He moved into the corner then centered the puck to Como who was roaring down the slot like a jet. Como swiftly snapped the shot into the net.
The Wildcats went further ahead early in the third period. Como stopped an Evergreens’ centering pass in the low slot of the Wildcats’ zone. He darted toward the left boards and headed up ice. Skating into the Everest end, he deked a defender, then lifted a shot into the upper corner of the net at 2:04.
The Evergreens scored their lone goal of the game at 10:27. Off a face-off in the D.C. Everest zone, Grant Oertel scooped up a loose puck and skated away. He headed into the USM end on a one-on-one break. From the high slot, Oertel veered to his left then gunned a shot past Patrick Kelly, USM’s goaltender and into the high corner on the far pipe.
Herzberg gained his hat trick in the waning moments of the game. He pickpocketed the puck from a defenseman in front of the D.C. Everest net and lofted a backhand shot past Hurt at 12:27.
After the game, Herzberg commented on the hat trick, “It always feels good but it feels better to get a win. That’s all that matters in the end. Props to my linemates and other people on the ice working just as hard to get me the puck. It’s never a one man show, and everyone works together to get the goals. We came out to a good start to the game and ended up with a win. The penalty killers played amazing tonight to help us out. It was a full team effort to get the win.”
D.C. Everest is now 1-2. The Evergreens conclude their southern trip on Saturday, December 7th with a non-conference game at 1:15 p.m. against Marquette at Eble Park Ice Arena in Brookfield.
The victory gave USM a 3-0 record. The Wildcats play another northern rival, Wausau West, in a non-conference game at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7th at USM.