The Saint Mary’s Springs Ledgers’ quest for their third straight WIAA Division 2 championship started fast, scoring just 41 seconds into their semi-final matchup with the first-time Baldwin-Woodville Blackhawks.
Then the Ledgers used a three-goal second period to pull away and win 4-1.
The Blackhawks hit a pipe on their first shift of the game, but Springs recovered quickly, worked the puck deep into the Hawk zone, and Josh Austin scored a nifty backhander to give them the early 1-0 lead.
That would be the only scoring of the first period as goalies Hayden Rising and Dominic Hite each faced eight shots, with Rising stopping all eight.
Spring widened their lead at the 2:15 mark of the second period with the man advantage. Springs fired a shot in on Hite, and he made a pad save. He stretched wide across the net to make another miraculous pad save, but the Hawks weren’t able to clear the rebound and Jonathan Korb was able to put it in to take the 2-0 lead.
Baldwin-Woodville kept battling through, and it looked as though lady luck was on their side when a simple dump in kicked oddly off the boards to the front of the net where Max Buhr was waiting to poke it in and cut the lead in half.
Springs would continue pour on the pressure though and picked up their next two goals in the span of 53 seconds. One the first Finn Buelow fired a shot from the point and Gabe Braun deflected it in. One the second Connor Schramm and Korb entered the zone two-on-two. Schramm went out wide with his man and Korb cut to the net. Schramm fired a pass toward the front of the net, and Korb poked it in without trying to handle it and shoot.
Neither team put the puck in the net in the third period as the Ledgers clamped down and outshot the Blackhawks 10-2 in the period.
It wasn’t the showing they wanted in their first trip to state, but they played well against the two-time defending champions.
Rising stopped 20 of 21 for the Ledgers. Hite stopped 27 of 31 for the Blackhawks. The Ledgers advance to face Rice Lake in the championship game on Saturday.