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Hudson Tops Wausau West 2-0, First Shot is Game Winner

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 01/08/24, 11:15AM CST


It was a defensive battle Saturday evening at Marathon Park Ice Arena in Wausau as the Warriors of Wausau West played host to the Raiders of Hudson.

The game-winning goal game on the first shot of the game, and the Raiders added another in the third to take a 2-0 win.

The Raiders scored just 17 seconds into the game on a turnover at center ice. Harry Ross came in on a lone West defender and pulled him to the boards side while Gannon Blaiser streaked out of the pack in the middle toward the net. He ended up coming in one-on-one against West goalie Julian Scalcucci. Blaiser found the glove-side corner and put the Raiders ahead.

"The start was less than ideal for us but we responded well the rest of the period and were able to create a few high-quality chances after it," said Wausau West coach Brian Brandt.

The Raiders had the Warriors on their heels for most of the game, limiting the Warriors to just 13 shots on goal.

"The forecheck and pace Hudson played with had us a bit panicked on breakouts. We got better as the game went on but then put together the line rushes," said Brandt. "Hudson did a very good job of blocking shots and limiting our high-quality possessions by how they tracked back into their defensive zone."

While they were behind it all game, the Warriors held strong in the defensive zone, limiting Hudson to shots from the outside, and very few second-chance opportunities.

"The keys for us defensively were to take away the middle. Hudson moved the puck low to high and changed sides in the offensive zone really well so we needed to keep them to the outside," said coach Brandt. "We did a good job of that for about 48 minutes of the game."

While Hudson controlled the pace of play for most of the game, totaling 34 shots on goal, they got very few second-chance opportunities, and had trouble cracking Scalcucci.

"Our program has always take pride in taking care of our own zone first. It is always the number one focus to start a season and something we have to have in place before getting into the fun side of the rink," said Raider coach Charlie Slingerhouse.

Eli Howard added Hudson's second goal late in the third period on the power play, it was a rebound in front, assisted by Willy Fischer.

"We knew we’d have to find some scoring going into this season with losing some heavy goal scoring from seniors last year. It’s a work in progress but I think we are getting there," said Slingerhouse. "Getting our guys to live around the net and create traffic in front is where we need to be better."

Julian Scalcucci stopped 32 of 34 shots for the Warriors in the loss in just the fourth start of the season for the freshamn.

"We are very fortunate to have four high quality goaltenders in our program. Early season it is about development and seeing how they play in certain situations against high quality opponents," said coach Brandt. "The goalie decision going forward will be based on who is playing best and gives the group the best chance to win."

Owen Prescher stopped all 13 shots he faced for the Raiders in the win.

Wausau will host Middleton on Friday at Marathon Park. Hudson will be at Eau Claire North on Tuesday.

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