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Defense Sees Middleton Thru To Sectional Final

By Mason Hammett WiPH Contributor, 02/21/24, 9:00PM CST


In an exciting playoff showdown on a busy Tuesday night in Verona, Middleton took on Verona in a packed barn. Both teams split victories in their conference matchups, and both shared the Big 8 Conference title

The game began with Middleton having a series of 2-on-1 attacks, only to be stopped by Verona's Blake Craven. While Verona struggled to get past Middleton's defensive system, Middleton's offense pressured Craven with shots, yet failed to break through until the last two minutes of the first period. A critical face-off win by senior Gabe Passini set up Ethan Glimme. Glimme's shot found its way through traffic, slipping past Craven. Verona’s Craven faced ten shots that period and made 9 saves. Middleton’s Ian Eberle blocked all 8 shots.

As the second period started, Middleton began to control the game. Cade Semrad capitalized on a Verona turnover, setting up Wyatt Ehrhardt. Ehrhardt would beat Verona's defense, extending Middleton's lead to 2-0. Despite an effort from Verona to mount a comeback, Middleton's defensive system, and goaltender Eberle, held firm. Middleton would get 11 shots, and Craven would save them all. Middleton would face 4 shots the whole period, and Eberle would make all 4 saves.

Middleton couldn't capitalize on a couple of opportunities to secure an insurance goal with two power-play chances. Middleton's defense was on point, effectively neutralizing Verona's offensive threats. Verona found themselves with a golden opportunity to narrow the gap with a power play towards the end of the game. Verona couldn't get past Middleton's good penalty kill and killed off penalties. Middleton's Ian Eberle faced 18 shots throughout the game and turned away every single one, earning himself a shutout. Verona's Blake Craven faced 32 shots, managing to save 30 of them, finishing the night with a .938 save percentage.

Middleton now sets its sights on Madison Edgewood in the Sectional Final at Sun Prairie on Friday night at 7 p.m.

WiPH Game Summaries