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Wildcats win battle of the goalies

By Michael Trzinski, WiPH Staff, 03/06/20, 3:15PM CST


1-0 win over Chip Falls as netminders combine to stop 67 of 68 shots

Walker Haessig punched in a rebound after 62 minutes of scoreless hockey as the Verona Wildcats took a 1-0 win over Chippewa Falls in double OT in what was the most exciting game of the tourney thus far.

The first period was action-filled but scoreless, with a combined 20 shots fired on net. Chip Falls goalie Bridger Fixmer stopped 11 shots, while his counterpart on the other end, Verona goalie Kaden Grant, stopped nine shots.

The action continued in the second, but the result was the same as both goalies were excellent. Verona had two power plays and the Cardinals had one, but neither could convert.

Verona had a great chance when Cale Rufenacht steamed down the left side but had his shot denied by Fixmer with just under five minutes left.

As the buzzer sounded to end the period, Isaac Frenette tried to stuff the puck past Grant, but the clock hit 0:00 to end the scoreless stanza. Grant had 13 saves in the period, while Fixmer stopped 14.

The third period saw furious action, several end-to-end rushes, goals. Both Grant, with four saves, and Fixmer, who had seven, played spectacularly. 

After a three-minute break, the teams resumed play with an eight minute period. Conrad Moline went wide right on a back-door chance two minutes in to keep the game at zero.

A pair of Verona penalties gave the Cardinals power play tries, but the Verona PK unit and Grant kept ChiHi off the board.

In the second OT, Haessig got his game-winner after Fixmer made a couple of uncredited saves with 13:39 left on the clock as the Verona side of the arena erupted in bedlam and the Cardinals side fell silent.

Grant finished the game with 30 saves, and Fixmer stopped 37 of 38 in a game that deserved no loser.

Chippewa Falls ended their season with a great 23-5 record. The Verona squad improved to 24-4, and will battle Notre Dame tomorrow at approximately 2:30 for the Division One title.

WiPH Game Summaries