There wasn't a lot of scoring (one combined goal) and a lot of penalties (14 combined infractions), but the Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha Rockets and the Wausau West Warriors definitely gave fans at Rink 3 of the Cornerstone Community Center their money's worth Saturday afternoon.
Brady Cleveland scored on the power play in the middle of the second period to give West a 1-0 victory in the third place match of the 10th annual Showdown in Titletown.
The first period scorecard showed two power play chances (one each) with no goals, and seven saves for NHM goalie Jake Mork and three for West's Adam Prokop.
West got on the board in the second after a Rocket penalty put the Warriors on a power play. As time was winding down on the two-minute penalty, the Warriors passed the puck around at the top of the umbrella before Cleveland fired an on-ice shot that snuck past Mork to make it 1-0. Carson Marquardt got an assist on the play.
The Rockets had two cracks on the man-advantage and West had one in the middle part of the period, but neither team could score 5-on-4.
As time ticked down to 30 seconds, NHM's Drew Sutton skated down the left side and launched a shot that went bar-up instead of bar-down and the period would end with the 1-0 West lead.
Saves: Mork 7, Prokop 13.
The third period was all Adam Prokop and the West PK unit.
Ty Bailey was sent to the box with 11:37 remaining after a five-minute head contact major was assessed and then West went to work on the PK. A couple minutes later, matching penalties were called as a result of the physicality of the game.
And then it was the West goalie's turn to shine.
Ethan Long could only stare at Prokop in disbelief as the West goalie made a couple of clutch saves in a span of two minutes.
Long had the puck in close and fired a shot that Prokop kicked away with his left pad. Then Long snapped a shot moments later that Prokop, who was down covering the bottom half, stretched his glove to the top of the net, pulling down what looked like a sure top-shelf goal. The Rocket forward stared at his opponent for a few seconds, then shook his head and skated off with five minutes left in regulation.
The next two minutes saw five penalties called (three for West, two for NHM) but again, defense won out as the scoreboard stayed at 1-0.
The Rockets took a timeout at 2:17 and tried to get Mork off for an extra skater, but he couldn't skate off until just 38 seconds remained.
Time ran out, and West celebrated with the 1-0 win. In the period, Prokop had seven saves for a game total of 23, while Mork stopped three to end with 17.