After opening the season with two one-goal road losses to state power Hudson and Chippewa Falls, Verona junior forward Garrison Codde was ready to play in front of the Wildcats’ home crowd.
Codde scored two goals to lead Verona to a 7-0 Big Eight win over Beloit Memorial in the home opener on Friday, Dec. 2, at the Verona Ice Arena. Verona (2-2, 2-0 Big Eight) was coming off a 5-1 Big Eight road win over Madison West on Tuesday, Nov. 29, at the Madison Ice Arena.
“We came in with a lot of energy and the fans were good,” Codde said. “It’s always good to start off to a strong start at home. We blitzed Madison West and we just have to keep on cruising.”
Hudson has reached the WIAA Division 1 state tournament six of the past seven years. The Wildcats are looking to make a return trip to state after having a four-year run snapped last season.
“Losing those games motivated us,” Codde said. “We used it this week and we just have to keep on going.”
Verona coach Joel Marshall said the Wildcats learned something from the two early-season losses. They jumped right into regular season games without a scrimmage.
“We try to make the hardest nonconference schedule we can,” Marshall said. “It makes us better. It was a good reward to have that competition early. It set us up because now we will be in conference play.”
Verona exploded for five goals in the first period to cruise by Beloit Memorial on Dec. 2, the Verona Ice Arena.
Codde scored two goals to power the Wildcats, who outshot the Purple Knights 53-12. Verona scored four goals in the first seven minutes. Freshman forward Boden Brotzman scored on an assist by Lars Brotzman at 2 minutes, 25 seconds. Less than a minute later, senior forward Reece Cordray scored on assists from senior forward Jack Marske and senior defenseman Cael Pertzborn.
“The depth we have on offense showed in this game,” Marshall said. “We have three lines that can contribute any given night and be a lot of other teams’ first lines. Most high school hockey teams in the state have two good lines and after that it falls off.”
Marske scored a goal on assists from Cordray and senior forward Conrad Moline to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead at 6:35. Moline scored just 26 seconds later. Both Marske and Cordray assisted on the goal. Codde scored his first goal on an assist by junior defenseman David Dina at 10:42 to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 5-0. Verona outshot Beloit Memorial 23-3 in the first period.
“Our goal is to get out and get up early,” Codde said. “When you have a lead like that it’s easier to control the game.”
Verona added two goals in the second period. Codde scored his second goal on assists from Pertzborn and senior defenseman Viktor Mitchell at 7:54 in the third. With only 26 seconds left in the third period, junior forward Tre Grignon scored on passes from junior forwards Caden Wedderspoon and Charlie McGinnis.
Both teams finished 0-for-2 on the power play. Verona goaltender Blake Craven had 12 saves.
Cordray scored two goals and had one assist to lead Verona over Madison West on Nov. 29, at the Madison Ice Arena.
The Regents struck first on Lucas Morris’ power-play goal at 4:32 in the first period. The Wildcats answered with Cordray scoring a power-play goal on assists from Marske and Lars Brotzman at 12:31 to tie the game at 1.
About three minutes into the second period, Moline scored a go-ahead goal on passes from Cordray and Grady Miller to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. Marske scored about a minute later on a pass by Miller.
Lars Brotzman scored on an assist by Grignon at 9:45 in the third period to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 4-1. Cordray capped the scoring with his second power-play goal at 13:35. The goal was assisted by Dina.
The Wildcats outshot the Regents 53-19. Verona went 2-for-4 on the power play and Madison West was 1-for-6. Craven had 19 saves.