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Springs Returns to Championship Game As Wildcats Push Ledgers to the Limit

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 02/29/24, 4:00PM CST


The last time the River Falls Wildcats were at the state tournament it was 1997 whereas their Thursday opponent, the St Mary's Springs Ledgers, won the first two division 2 championships and took runner-up in the third before missing their first chance at the division two championship last season.

It was a game that none of the participants will soon forget as it went wire-to-wire with both teams looking dominant at times. In the end it was the Ledgers who hung for a 2-1 win.

It was a quiet first period on the scoresheet but not on the ice as both teams traded quality scoring chances. St Mary's Springs had far more of them however, outshooting the Wildcats 27-7 in the frame, with Luke Linehan stopping two breakaways and several other quality scoring chances.

It took until the 4:39 mark of the second period for either team to crack the seal. Armani Fischer took a slick backhanded feed from Gabe Braun behind the net to the right faceoff circle and put it in on the power play to make it 1-0 Springs. 

River Falls tied it back up with a power play goal of their own at the 8:57 mark of the second. Hunter Rappel drew back to Andrew Amundson at the top of the right faceoff circle and he sniped it glove side to tie the game.

The shot total was much less one sided in the second period, as both teams put 14 on the opposing tender in the frame, setting up for an excellent third period. 

River Falls dominated the first 9 minutes of the third period but it was the Ledgers who retook the lead at 10:02 mark of the period. Armani Fischer took a pass from Isaac Sabel at center ice  and came in on a 3-on-2. He kept the puck himself and sniped the glove side corner to retake the Springs lead.

Despite a pulled goalie and late power play opportunity River Falls wasn't able to bring it back to a tie and Fischer's goal was the game winner.

Luke Linehan and Brenden Gaertig were both fantastic in net for their squads. Linehand stopped 38 shots in the loss for River Falls. Gaertig stopped 27 for the Ledgers.

The Ledgers will face off against reigning State Champion New Richmond on Saturday at 9:30 am.

WiPH Game Summaries