It was another great weekend of hockey in Sun Prairie! The Sun Prairie Cardinals came away with the Championship victory after a hard fought battle with the Waunakee Warriors. It is the first Groundhog trophy the host Cardinals have skated away with since 2010.
The second round of Groundhog games were exciting to say the least. Sun Prairie had their hands full with a tough Oregon Panther team on Friday. The Cardinals went down 2-0 early in the first period with Oregon’s Jacob Cameron and Joe Roemer scoring just 37 seconds apart. Davis Hamilton was able to put Sun Prairie on the board with an even strength goal just before the 1st period ended to make it a one goal game. The 2nd period was a defensive battle by both teams without any goals, and the 3rd period saw Sun Prairie goals by Carter Watters and defenseman Nick Johnson, who put away the game winner at 12:20. Sun Prairie goalie Noah McCrary stopped all 35 shots that he faced in the contest.
Meanwhile on the Tubbs rink, Monona Grove and Madison Memorial went back and forth for the entire game. Monona Groves Keaton Straka put the Silver Eagles on the board first, with Memorial’s Jack Faulkner answering 3 minutes later in the first period. 2nd period saw goals from Memorial’s Andrew Olson, and then Monona Grove senior Sebastian Karns-Bingham would make it even at the end of 2. The 3rd period was all Derek Buckalew who registered 2 goals to put Madison Memorial up for good. MG Goalie Andrew Gilbertson stopped 52 or 56 shots, while the Spartan’s Tyler Kreft was good for 22 saves on the night.
KMMO took on Waunakee in the 2nd round with a trip to the Championship game on the line. Waunakee got on the board first with goals from Danny Reis and Isaac Nett. Hunter Santos scored in the 2nd to bring KMMO within one. Reis would go on to score 3 more goals in the contest, while Kyle Santos and Hunter Santos would both put goals on the board in the 3rd. The final score read 5-3 in favor of the Warriors. Waunakee goalie Hunter Beck was awarded the win with a .917 save percentage, while KMMO goalie Tyler Arnold stopped 49 of 54 shots.
Our last game of the second round was a thriller with DeForest and Waukesha going into 2 OT’s and an 18 round shootout. The contest was determined to be a tie, but Waukesha eventually went on to edge out the Norskie’s for the chance to advance in the Groundhog Bracket. Scoring in regulation play was Waukesha forward Josh Little with the lone goal of the first. Little came back and put up a power play goal early in the 2nd, before the Norskie’s Jackson Elsing put DeForest on the board with a short handed goal. The Wing’s Tyler Dale answered back with an even strength goal, followed by another DeForest short handed goal from Nicholas Garnell to pull the Norskie’s within 1. DeForest junior Bryce Jacobsen had the only goal of the 3rd to tie the game for good. Waukesha goalie Alex Miller stopped 27/30 shots while DeForest goalie Alexander Kaminsky had a .917 save percentage for the evening.
Our final round of games Saturday started with Monona Grove against DeForest. DeForest point leaders included Bryce Jacobson (5), Alex Rashid (3) and Nicholas Garnell, Carson Richter and Mitchell Thompson all registering 2 points each which led to a DeForest 9-3 victory. The Silver Eagles were led by Sebastian Karns-Bingham with 2 goals on the day.
Oregon and KMMO matched up for another close game with KMMO just edging out the Panthers from Oregon with a 3-2 final score. KMMO skaters Kyle and Hunter Santos had 2 goals a piece in the contest, while Oregon registered goals from Adam Franken and Kyle Rohrer. The goalies had great days with KMMO’s Tyler Arnold ending the day with a .938 save percentage and Oregon goalie Colton Dailey stopped 38/41 shots.
Waukesha and Madison Memorial’s game also ended with a 3-2 score in favor of the Waukesha Wings. Waukesha skater Josh Little led the team with 1 goal and 1 assist in the victory, while Memorial’s Derek Buckalew answered with his own goal and assist as well. Goalie Wes Turner (Madison Memorial) finished the contest with a .925 save percentage, while Wings goalie Alex Miller stopped 27 or 39 shots.
Our Championship game was another nail biter to end our tournament. Sun Prairie was the first one on the board early in the 2nd period with an even strength goal from Freshman Evan Luxford. The Cardinals also got a short handed goal from junior defenseman Nick Johnson with a beautiful assist from Travin Egli. Waunakee forward Steven Pasinato pulled the Warriors to within one goal at the end of the second. Waunakee opened the 3rd period with an even strength goal from Tyler Hoffman to tie the game, but the Cardinals put two more on the board from seniors Carter Watters and Kaden Brunson to lead to the 4-2 victory. The Warriors goalie Hunter Beck finished the night with 31 saves, while Sun Prairie goalie Noah McCrary ended with a .933 save percentage.
On behalf of the Sun Prairie Booster Club, Coaches and team, we sincerely appreciate all of the teams that participated in our 20th Annual Groundhog Tournament and we enjoyed hosting all of your families and fans at Sun Prairie Ice Arena.