Faceoffs matter. That was clearly evident in the Classic Eight Conference boys’ hockey game between Arrowhead and University School on Tuesday, February 4th at USM. Three of the four goals in the game resulted directly from faceoff wins. The fourth was an empty net goal by Colin Juenger late in the third period that cinched Arrowhead’s 3-1 victory.
It was a close game throughout, and the Warhawks and Wildcats played a fast-paced, hard-hitting game for first place in the conference. The two rivals are both ranked near the top in the Division 1 poll. Arrowhead came into the game ranked third, and the Wildcats entered it ranked fifth.
The action on the ice demonstrated the two teams’ hockey abilities. The shot totals were nearly the same, Arrowhead took 24 shots; the Wildcats took 26. Patrick Kelly, USM’s goaltender, made 21 saves, while Mark Moreno made 25 saves in the net for Arrowhead.
The Warhawk’s first two goals bookended the first period. They scored the first just 16 seconds into the game and the second with just 1:01 remaining in the period.
Taking the draw in the right circle of the USM zone, Will Bonk pushed the puck past his faceoff opponent. He controlled the puck then promptly whipped it to Trenton Skaggs who had burst past two USM players toward the far post. Skaggs snapped it in.
The Warhawks scored their second goal off a faceoff in USM’s left circle. Taking the faceoff, Carson Heitman popped the puck forward. TJ Haas moved into the circle unhampered. Without hesitation, Haas zipped a shot past Kelly at 15:59.
USM finally scored late in the second period. Center Blake Carey won the faceoff in Arrowhead’s left circle by pulling the puck back to the point to defenseman Alex Thundercloud. Thundercloud’s hard shot made it through the players in the circle then past Moreno at 15:49.
The Wildcats tried to tie the game in the third period. They pulled Kelly with just under two minutes remaining to gain an extra attacker. But Juenger’s shot from near Arrowhead’s blue line into the USM net ended USM’s hopes at 15:51 of the third period.
After the game, Jason Woods, USM’s head coach said, “It was a great high school Hockey game. It was a very even game throughout as indicated by the score. Empty netter aside, it was a one goal battle. Unfortunately, we made two critical errors, and both cost us on Arrowhead goals. Can’t do that against well coached teams. Still, we battled hard and gave them a run. Congrats go to them, and we will learn and continue to get better. Alex Thundercloud was clearly a shining star tonight. I thought he was the best player on the ice and a heck of a difference maker for us.”
Arrowhead is now 19-0-1 and 5-0 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Warhawks faceoff against Sheboygan in a non-conference game at 6:45 p.m. at the Howard Mullett Center on the Arrowhead campus in Hartland.
USM is 15-5-1 and 5-1 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats play Marquette in a Classic Eight Conference game at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 7th at Eble Park Ice Arena in Brookfield.