The University School boys’ hockey team rallied from behind to defeat Marquette 3-2 in a Classic Eight Conference game on Friday, February 7th at Eble Park Ice Arena in Brookfield.
The Wildcats ended their two-game losing streak in another classic hockey game in the decades-long rivalry between the two oldest high school hockey programs in the Milwaukee area. The action in Friday’s clash was fast and fierce; the play continually went up and down the ice. The fans who packed Eble Park got their money’s worth.
Tyler Herzberg, one of USM’s captains who scored the tying goal for the Wildcats, commented on the win, “It was a big game for us coming off of two losses. We knew we needed to come out strong in a rivalry game. We got down for most of the game but battled our way back, and played solid defense all game.”
USM outshot the Hilltoppers 40-23 in the game, but Nick Ahlers, Marquette’s goalie, stood tall and made 37 saves. At the other end of the ice, Patrick Kelly, USM’s goaltender, also played well; Kelly made 21 saves in the game.
The Hilltoppers took their first lead midway the first period. Skating into the USM zone, Mathew McKenna tipped the puck away from a USM defender then gathered it up along the right mid-boards. He passed it to Johnny Kass who was moving into the zone. Kass skated in and took a shot from the right circle. Kelly saved it, but let the rebound loose. William Mullooly dashed to it and popped it past Kelly at 10:12.
USM tied the score a few minutes later. Taking a faceoff on the right dot just outside the USM blueline, Blake Carey won the draw back to defenseman Charlie Keough. Keough passed the puck to Peter Ells in center ice, and Ells tipped it to Carey who was speeding past. Carey carried the puck into the Marquette zone, dodged a diving defenseman, closed in on Ahlers and snapped the puck into the net at 14:38.
The Hilltoppers went back ahead at 2:45 of the second period while on a power play. They moved the puck around the USM zone looking for a scoring chance. They got it when Max Stocco skated the puck behind the net then passed it out to Jacob Slater. Slater took a shot and Ryan Beierle pushed the rebound under Kelly for the score.
Herzberg tied the game again with a goal early in the third period. Ben Moalusi pulled the puck from a Marquette player high in the Hilltoppers’ end. He spun into the slot and saw Herzberg all alone in the right circle and passed the puck to him. Herzberg one-timed a shot past Ahlers at 5:37.
The Wildcats scored the winning goal at 11:54. Moalusi got the play started. Along the left boards at the center ice red line, he stopped a Marquette player’s progress and chipped the puck along the boards to Reid Woods. Woods skated into the Hilltoppers’ zone and unleashed a shot from the circle that beat Ahlers to give the Wildcats the goal they needed to win the game.
“What a great high school hockey game,” said Jason Woods, USM’s head coach. “Two old rivals battling to the end. I challenged these guys after the second period to rise up and find a way, and they did it. We played with a chip on our shoulders and responded. Selfless plays by our guys on the Herzberg and Woods goals were the difference. We made the small plays we needed to win.”
Marquette is now 8-11-1 and finished at 4-2 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Hilltoppers play Bay Port at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 8th at Eble Park in Brookfield.
USM is 16-5-1 and finished at 6-1 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats defeated play Hudson in a non-conference game on Friday, February 14th at the Hudson Sports and Civic Center in Hudson at 7:00 pm.