The Hudson Raiders looked dominant on Saturday afternoon at the South Wood County Rec Center in Wisconsin Rapids as they held the defending champion Verona Wildcats to just 7 shots on goal while the Raiders tallied four times.
It is the Raiders fifth championship and first since their back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
The rink was tilted in Hudson’s favor early until a Ben Parent interference penalty gave Verona a power play at the 4:55 mark of the first period. The Wildcats had some looks but didn’t record a shot on goal on the try.
Despite the advantage in time of possession Hudson only put four shots on goal through the first seven minutes of the first period when at the 9:11 mark Carter Mears got Hudson on the board.
Mears picked up a puck out in the high slot, spun and fired it into the corner of the net to give Hudson a 1-0 lead. There was traffic in front of the net, screening Wildcat goalie Kaden Grant on the play.
Hudson added a second goal just 53 seconds later when Alex Pottratz fired one from the top of the faceoff circle near the boards. It hit Grant’s glove, and bounced into the net to give Hudson the 2-0 lead.
Hudson had several more chances in the period but Grant turned them all away, and when the period was done Hudson had an 11-0 shot advantage according to the WIAA’s official scoresheet.
It was a quiet second period on the score sheet, with no goals and one penalty on each team. Verona narrowed the shot advantage in the frame, but Hudson still out shot them 10-2.
Hudson rung a pipe during their power play and just after it expired, and Grant made a huge 1-on-1 save against Hunter Danielson shortly after that to keep Verona close.
After killing off a penalty to open the third period, Carter Mears added his second of the night. He picked up the puck just behind the goal line after Carson Strapon won a puck battle behind the net. Mears pulled the puck back out front and from in-tight lifted the puck up and over Grant for the 3-0 lead.
Verona thought they got one back when on a two-on-two when they crashed the net hard and both the Verona skater and Hudson goalie ended up in the net, taking it out of place. But, the replay confirmed that the puck never went into the net.
That would be it for the scoring for the next 10 minutes as the teams traded penalties, with Verona going 0-for-3, and Hudson going 0-for-5 on the power play in the game.
Verona pulled their goalie with 2:51 left in the game, but Matthew Mauer was able to come up with an empty netter to make it 4-0 with 2:37 left to lock the win down for Hudson.
That’s how it would end. Grant had 31 saves for the Wildcats and Alex Ripplinger had 7 for the Raiders.