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Gaertig and Two Minutes of Dominance Lead Springs to Division 2 Championship

By Bill Berg Jr, WiPH Staff, 03/02/24, 11:45AM CST


The defending state champion New Richmond Tigers faced off against the St Mary's Springs Ledgers, who have played in four of the five division 2 championships games, on Saturday in the division two championship game.

There would be no repeat for the Tigers however, as a two minute stretch of the second period turned a 1-1 game in to a 4-1 game and the Ledgers took a 6-2 victory to their third division 2 state championship.

Springs opened the scoring at 4:48 of the first period on the power play. Will Stellmacher found himself in the slot and put a wrister into the blockers side corner for the early lead. 

After some wild end-to-end play the top seed Tigers tied it up at the 12:15 mark. Matthew Unger got the puck down low to Steven Chapman behind the net and Champman made a quick pass to Bjorn Bahneman in front of the net for the quick one-timer goal.

The Tigers out shot the Ledgers 16-11 in the first period, most of the advantage came during a period of 4-on-4 play where New Richmond controlled the ice.

After a quiet eight minutes to start the second period Austin Westergaard stole a bad pass on a New Richmond power play and came in all alone against Ryan McGillis and beat him for the short handed goal to make it 2-1.

New Richmond looked lost the entire power play and just after time expired on their power play Springs got a 2-on-0 with Quinn McLaughlin feeding Gabe Braun to make it 3-1 as Braun beat the goalie 1-on-1.

Springs extended the lead on the next shift. Isaac Sabel carried into the zone and fired from high in the left faceoff circle to the glove-side corner and put it in for a 4-1 lead. Springs scored three goals in 2:07.

For New Richmond it was two minutes of hell, where they just fell apart in an otherwise fine performance to that point. They took a timeout to regroup and played better the rest of the period and still out shot the Ledgers 11-9 in the frame.

Armani Fisher extended the lead to 5-1 on a power play one-timer in front on a feed from Isaac Sabel at 3:19 of the third period. 

After trading and sharing several penalties, when it finally got back to five-on-five New Richmond narrowed the lead at the 14:06 mark on a nice pass from Jameson Unger to Brody Jackson in front. Brenden Geartig stopped the first shot, but Jackson put in the rebound to narrow the lead to 5-2.

Springs added an empty netter with 2:19 left on the clock to make it 6-2.

Ryan McGillis stopped 21 saves in the loss for the Tigers while Brenden Gaertig stopped 41 shots for Springs in the win.

The win gives St Mary's Springs their third division 2 title in five seasons and the new competitive balance rules will likely push both teams up to division 1 next season.

WiPH Game Summaries