Hudson will get its shot at a WIAA State Hockey Championship three-peat.
The Raiders clinched a spot in next week’s Division 1 State Tournament by defeating Superior in a sectional final, 3-1, before a packed house Friday night at the Chippewa Ice Arena.
Hudson, which never trailed in the contest, broke a scoreless tie at the 7:45 mark of the first period. The Raiders worked the puck to the right point, and junior defenseman Brecken Meyer sent a low shot past Spartans goaltender Trent Peterson and into the net. Alex Pottratz and Harry Ross picked up assists on the Meyer goal. Hudson outshot Superior 10-4 in the period.
The two goalies stepped up early in the second. Peterson stopped Connor Hauser on a breakaway, then Raiders goaltender Aiden Tepper-Engh denied Spartans forward Brayden Severin, who had slipped behind the Hudson defense.
Each team had a power play opportunity in the second, but just seconds after Superior killed off its penalty, Hudson’s Carson Strapon snapped a wrist shot from the right circle into the net to give his team a 2-0 lead at the 6:45 mark of the period, with assists going to Meyer and Pottratz.
Superior answered less than two minutes later, when freshman defenseman Jackson Marthaler beat Tepper-Engh, with fellow freshman Brayden Severin picking up the assist.
Four minutes into the third, the Spartans had a great opportunity for the equalizer when senior forward Caden Lia skated down the left wing and went wide around a defender, but his point-blank shot was smothered by Tepper-Engh.
Just under three minutes later, with Superior serving a penalty, some pinpoint passing on the Raiders power play led to a goal by junior forward Truman Zerse, with Strapon and Pottratz notching assists. .
The Raiders were able to control play late in the third so that the Spartans were unable to pull their goalie. In the game, Hudson outshot Superior by a 38-16 margin.
“It was a tough game, for sure, probably one of our toughest games of the season,” said Strapon, “we knew it was going to be a hard game but it really tested us.”
Hudson, now 19-9-0 on the season, will make its 14th appearance at the WIAA State Hockey Tournament, and its 10th in this century. Despite some up and down results this season due to injury and illness, the Raiders are making the trip to state again despite a #4 seed in their sectional.
“We battled adversity all year, sickness, injuries, everyone’s doubting us in the state,” said Pottratz, “we don’t think we should have had the four seed, so that’s kind of been our underdog mentality all season.”
The Raiders have won five state titles: 2001 & 2004 with Mike Stoskopf as head coach, 2017 & 2018 under Brooks Lockwood, and 2021 & 2022 with Davis Drewiske behind the bench. Now, first-year head coach & Hudson alum Charlie Singerhouse will get his opportunity.
“It’s been great,” Singerhouse says, “we got a great group of kids, everyone’s on board, we’re all on the same page trying to achieve the same goal here, so they’ve helped me out, hopefully I’m doing an okay job of helping them out, too.”
For a second consecutive season, the Spartans drop a sectional final at the Chippewa Ice Arena to the Raiders. In 2022, Hudson defeated Superior, 5-2 to advance to state.
Superior leads all Wisconsin high schools in state tournament appearances with 38. The Spartans last won a state title in 2015, when head coach Jason Kalin led Superior to a 6-0 championship game win over Wausau West. The Spartans, who’ll graduate six seniors from this team, finish their season with a record of 13-12-0.