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Fast Start Sees Notre Dame Down SPASH

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 12/05/21, 9:00AM CST

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Notre Dame Academy scored on their first two scoring chances of the day Saturday afternoon in Stevens Point to take a 2-0 lead just 2:13 into the first period. From there they never looked back, and rolled to a 4-1 win over the hosting SPASH Panthers.

On the first goal SPASH tender Hunter Christjohn couldn't get the puck covered as it lay in the crease, and his defenders couldn't clean it out before Keegan McCarron jumped on it and made it 1-0 at 1:09 of the first.

For their second goal, on their second shot, Isaac Rentmeester fired a wrister just inside the pipe from an off-angle and beat Christjohn to make it 2-0 just 2:13 into the game.

That would be it for Christjohn who was sporting a nifty .931 save percentage in wins over Madison Memorial and Mosinee coming in. Jonathan Nafe was sent in to tend the goal for SPASH.

Nafe would turn away all seven shots he saw in the first period, and it ended with Notre Dame holding a 2-0 lead.

SPASH had a few nice chances in the period, mostly from turnovers and some ill-advised passes from the Notre Dame defense. "[We] still have some things to clean up," said Notre Dame coach Cory McCracken. "[We have a] young back end that needs to settle in."

Callan Budinger would be the first Triton to crack Nafe, late in the second period on a wrister from the slot on a nice feed from Brenden Gruber to make it 3-0 for the visitors. The Tritons dominated the second period outshooting SPASH 12-4 despite being on the penalty kill twice in the period.

Notre Dame added their fourth goal early in the third period on a penalty kill. They picked up a two-on-one, and Brenden Gruber roofed one from in tight to the net to make it 4-0. 

"[We] cleaned up our PK from last night," said McCracken, comparing it to the three power play goals Neenah scored on them in NDA's loss the day before. "[Our] PK was better today, although I don’t care for our undisciplined penalties. That is going to stop asap."

Freshman Jackson Schroeder got the Panthers on the board two minutes later with a wrister from the slot that no goalie was going to stop, beautifully into the top corner, but that would be it for SPASH and the game would end 4-1.

"Jackson Schroeder was really good for SPASH," McCracken said. "Talented freshman and one of the top 2007’s in WI. He will find the net plenty as he adjusts to high school hockey and continues to get chances. Schroeder displayed his skill and speed in creating space for himself.  Impressive young player.  Schroeder and Kade Smigaj were their two best players."

Nafe stopped 29 of 31 for SPASH, and Lleyton Jaschke stopped 13 of 14 for Notre Dame.

Notre Dame improves to 2-1-1, and SPASH falls to 2-1.

"The focus heading into our next four games (DePere, Gentry Academy, Chippewa and Hudson) will be to clean up small details within our team structure and get positive momentum established with our special teams," said McCracken.

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