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Chippewa Falls Wears Down St. Mary's Springs in NDA Showcase

By Bill Berg, WiPH Staff, 12/30/23, 8:00AM CST


The Chippewa Falls Cardinals fell behind early, but ground down the Fond du Lac Springs Ledgers, scoring two goals in the third period to win 2-1 in the Notre Dame Academy Showcase at Cornerstone Community Center on Thursday.

It was the Ledgers who opened up the scoring at 10:23 in the first period, with Isaac Sabel blasting a shot that beat Cardinals goalie Mick Marlow up high, and destroyed his water bottle in the process. That would be the only shot to get by Marlow, as he stopped the other 5 in the first.

Brendan Gaertig got the start in goal for the Ledgers, as he has most of this season. Gaertig’s first two seasons at Springs were spent as a back up to Hayden Rising. Before his junior season could start, Gaertig was injured and did not play in a game until the Sectional Finals. In his only start of the season, Gaertig stopped 23 of 24 shots in a heart-breaking 1-0 loss to Oregon.

This season has been up and down for Gaertig and the Ledgers, with a low point being Wednesday’s 6-0 loss to Wausau West. But Gaertig has bounced back from each of his previous lows, and he did again on Thursday, stopping all 5 shots he saw in the first period.

Springs relies heavily on their first line for scoring, while the Cardinals have a deep and fast bench. The shots on goal were even in the first period, but then ChiHi started rolling. There was no scoring in the second period, but the vast majority of the time was spent in the Ledgers end of the ice.

Marlow again recorded five saves in the period, while Gaertig was much busier, facing and turning away 22 shots.

The third period was much the same. Marlow could have been replaced with a shooter-tutor and nobody would have noticed, as Springs did not get a shot on goal during the frame.

The relentless Cardinals attack eventually prevailed, first when Mason Johnson slapped a rebound of a Jackson Hoem shot in to tie the score at 4:32. Two and half minutes later Hoem scored himself to put the Cards up 2-1, and dash the hopes of a Springs upset.

After an even first period, the final shot count was 42-11 in favor of the Cardinals.

WiPH Game Summaries