The Game of the Week was supposed to be the championship game of the Wausau West Warriors Tournament. The top ranked Verona Wildcats would face the third-ranked hosts while number two Notre Dame Academy Tritons squared off against Eau Claire Memorial on Friday night. But the snowstorm boxed in Eau Claire, so the schedule was reset. Wausau West ended Verona’s 12 game winning streak with a 3-0 win Friday night. NDA and Verona were rescheduled for a Saturday afternoon contest.
The Tritons rode an efficient power play and an aggressive forecheck to a 3-2 victory over the Wildcats. NDA went two for four on the power play and capitalized on a bad exchange behind the Venona net for the win.
NDA drew first blood midway through the first period with a power play goal from Isaac Rentmeester. Sawyer Scholl, who was inexplicably not credited with an assist, fired a wrist shot from the point toward the slot. Josh DeLange redirected the shot and hit the left goal post. Rentmesster then tapped in the rebound for the only goal of the period. Verona netminder Kaden Grant stopped the other 10 shots he faced, while at the other end, Bo Buckley blocked all 14 of his chances.
Verona tied the score at 3:18 in the second period just seconds after an NDA penalty had expired. Walker Haessig circled around behind the Tritons net and found Nathan Jurrens alone in the left circle. Jurrens fired a quick wrister that beat Buckley on the glove side.
Things got a little testy towards the end of the second after a collision in front of the Verona bench that may or may not have involved an elbow to the head of a Wildcat. The Verona bench saw an elbow to the head, the referee saw a blow to the chest. While play moved out to the neutral zone, one of the Wildcat players questioned the referee’s cognitive abilities. This resulted in an immediate bench minor for unsportsmanlike conduct. Conrad Moline served the sentence, but was not the actual offender.
On the ensuing power play Scholl made a cross-ice pass to Brendan Poshak who beat Grant with a hard one-timer to put NDA back up 2-1. Grant stopped the other 14 shots he faced in the second, while Buckley blocked four of the five he faced.
An aggressive Tritons attack and a sloppy defensive exchange behind the Wildcats net generated a turn over just 32 seconds into the third period. Brenden Gruber picked off a weak pass and found Scholl alone in front of the net. A bang-bang pass and shot increased the NDA lead to 3-1.
Verona drew closer at 12:15 with a power play goal on a back side one-timer from Haessig that somehow managed to trickle through Buckley’s pads to make it 3-2.
Notre Dame’s aggressive attacking after that goal kept Verona from being able to gain control of the puck long enough to get Grant off the ice for an extra attacker, and the game ended that way.
Buckley ended the game with 30 saves, and Grant recorded 33.