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Boys Division 2 Preview

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 03/02/20, 6:15PM CST


Spartans, Warriors, Eagles, and Ledgers, oh my!

Game 1: #4 Rice Lake vs. #1 Saint Mary's Springs

The top-ranked, top-seeded Saint Mary's Springs Ledgers (22-3-2) beat Monona Grove (10-0), Oregon (6-0) and Waupun (6-0) on their road to Madison. If you look closely you'll see that they did not allow a goal in their three playoff games. They've been ranked #1 in Division Two wire-to-wire this season, and for good reason.

They are lead on offense by Joe Pavelski award finalist Brady Welsch, on defense by Davis Drewiske award finalist Noah Pickart, and in net by freshman Hayden Rising.

On the other side, the tournament #4 seed and section 1 #4 seed Rice Lake Warriors (11-13-1) come in having defeated #5 New Richmond (3-1), #1 Amery (2-0), and #2 Hayward (7-2) after playing a brutal Big Rivers Conference schedule where they went 3-9. Outside of BRC play they went 8-4-1.

They are lead on offense by junior Cole Fenske, on defense by senior Tyson Tomesh, and in net by junior Griffin Van Gilder.

Common Opponents

Rice Lake will have their work cut out for them against the #1 overall team in division 2, but it isn't like they haven't faced stiff competition this year, playing two games with 3rd ranked Hudson, two games with Division One section 1 winner Chippewa Falls, and two games with each of the top two seeds in their section, Amery and Hayward.

His season numbers aren't great given Rice Lake's schedule, with a .877 sv% and 4.09 GAA, but in their three playoff games, Van Gilder has a GAA of 1.00 and a sv% of .962.

Reviewing their schedules, the two teams have just one common opponent: KMMO. Springs beat KMMO in two close games, and KMMO beat Rice Lake in another close game.

Rice Lake's 7 goal outburst against Hayward was their third highest goal total on the season (9-0 vs WSFLG, 8-0 vs Avalanche). It was also the second time this season that Hayward allowed seven goals.

I'm not going to sugar coat it here. This game has the potential of going south fast, but Rice Lake played through a brutal conference schedule and won their section as a #4 seed, so Springs better not look past them.

Regular Season


Regular Season


Game 2: #3 Somerset vs #2 Northland Pines

The second ranked, seeded Northland Pines Eagles (24-3) have been chasing Saint Mary's Springs all year in the rankings, but haven't been able to crack that top spot. Their road to Madison was expected to be uneventful but after wins over Tomahawk (14-0) and Waupaca (8-0) they ran into a bit of trouble against Mosinee (4-3).

Pines is lead on offense by Joe Pavelski award finalist Brady Snedden, and on defense by junior Riley McGee, and in net by senior Brett Wilkins.

The third seeded Somerset Spartans (15-11-1) were also the third seed in their section, beating Black River Falls (6-0) and River Falls (3-2) and Menomonie (3-2) to advance to the tournament.

They are led on both offense and defense by senior defenseman Beaudee Smith, who leads the team in points. Their top forward is sophomore Antonio Gomez, and their netminder is junior Kaleb Bents.

Common Opponents

Menomonie was faster than Somerset in the sectional final, and Northland Pines is faster than Menomonie still, so Somerset will have to play a fundamentally sound game and make the most of their opportunities against a more talented opponent. It worked for SPASH against Pines in our game of the week a few weeks ago.

The two teams only have one common opponent, the Hayward Hurricanes. Pines held Hayward to 16 shots, and the Hurricanes put up 6 goals on the Spartans back in December.

Somerset doesn't have a backup goalie on the roster, meaning Bents took all the minutes this season. His .891 sv% in the regular season pales in comparison to the .958 he's put up in his three playoff games. He's really stepped up down the stretch for the Spartans.

Pines biggest issue is their consistency. Going into the sectional final they had beaten Mosinee 9-0 and 6-0. In that final they trailed Mosinee 3-1 mid-way through the third period before a boarding major gave them five minutes of power play time, which they used to tie it up.

Like the first game, this one has the potential of going south fast, as there is a definite underdog, but the higher seed still has gaps in their game that they need to sort out. If they don't watch for the Spartans to pounce.

Regular Season


Regular Season