The second-seeded Menomonie Mustangs hosted the number four Regis/Altoona/McDonnell (RAM) in the Divison 2 Section 3 final that Wisconsin Prep Hockey admittedly knew nothing about. A packed house at the Somerset Ice arena saw the Mustangs topple the Rams 3-2 in a contest that came right down to the wire.
Wisconsin Prep Hockey was not the only one confused on Saturday. Google maps directed anybody who was not sure of the rink location out into the middle of a field. You could see the rink from there, but couldn’t drive to it.
Once settled in, the fans watched a goalie battle for the first 29 minutes. Neither net-minder gave an inch, as the first period ended scoreless. 12 saves were recorded by RAM goalie Alex Erickson, 11 for Mustangs Jack Drout.
That pattern continued for the first 12 minutes of the second period. Finally Heyden Wier broke the seal with a breakaway goal to give Menomonie a 1-0 lead. Ryan Xu followed that up a couple minutes later when he scored on a shot from the right face-off dot for a 2-0 Mustangs lead.
It looked like Menomonie was going to take the 2-0 lead into the locker room, but a turnover in the Mustangs defensive zone resulted in a RAM goal by Tanner Robinson in the last minute of the period. 2-1 Menomonie.
Shots were pretty close for both teams with a slight 28-22 edge for the Mustangs.
Six minutes into the third period, RAM tied the game up. Elijah Schmidt took a low angle shot from the left side that somehow found a way through Drout.
With 2:53 to go in regulation and the score tied at two, the Mustangs were called for tripping, giving RAM a power play. RAM called for their timeout to set up a final push. They failed to cash in, and with half a minute left and a face-off in the RAM zone, Menomonie used their timeout.
The Mustangs won the draw back to David Fern who fired a shot toward the net which was deflected in the slot Wier to give Menomonie a 3-2 in the closing seconds.
The Mustangs were able to hold on and advance to the State Tournament.