While it was a cold and windy evening outside the Ice Pond in Waunakee, the intensity and heat inside the rink was intense. The crowd was anticipating an intense contest, which was the final regular season home game for the Waunakee Warriors.
Once the puck was dropped, the action started quickly both teams applying pressure as their opponents tried moving the puck. The first shot came 46 seconds into the game, but Edgewood’s Patrick Annen stopped it with ease. The fast paced action continued.
After a scramble in front of the Waunakee net, Alex Horras of Waunakee was called for a two minute minor for head contact at 3:58 of the first period. The Warriors penalty kill unit did their job and kept the game tied at zero.
The first goal of the game came at the 8:22 mark of the first period. The Crusaders were making an attempt to clear the puck from their defensive zone. Sophomore defenseman, Keegan Ford intercepted the pass and launched a rocket from 3 feet inside the blueline and snuck it in just under the crossbar to give Waunakee a 1-0 lead. Fifty-eight seconds later, Alex Horras increased the lead to 2 as he fired a shot from the top of the face-off circle on a pass from Hunter Darger and found the back of the net.
Edgewood’s Carl Beglinger was called for interference with 6:41 remaining in the first period. The Crusaders killed off the penalty, but gave up a goal to Jason Ford 13 seconds later. Jake Dragoo pulled the Crusaders back within two with an assist from Taylor Brown at the 12:40 mark to conclude the scoring in the first period. Edgewood’s Patrick Annen had 6 saves, while Mitch Horras had 10 saves for Waunakee.
The Ford brothers increased the lead back to three at the 5:52 mark of the second period. Keegan Ford picked up his second goal of the night with Jason Ford being credited with the assist. Edgewood’s Tom Richards scored the Crusaders second goal of the evening with an assist from Jake Dragoo at 6:52 of the second period.
Waunakee’s penalty unit had to prove their mettle, when Hunter Darger was accessed a minor for head contact at 9:39 of the second. Once again the Warriors were able to keep the Crusaders from capitalizing on the opportunity. Unfortunately for Waunakee, it appeared as if the penalty box had a revolving door as Chase Busch was called for elbowing at 12:31 of the period. The Crusaders applied pressure, but were unable to get the puck past Horras during the power play opportunity.
Jason Ford scored his second goal of the evening with 1:15 left in the second period. As it appeared everything was winding down it the second period, the intensity spilled over. The Warriors’ Darger picked up a double minor (cross checking and unsportsmanlike) and 10:00 minute misconduct with 49.7 seconds remaining in the second period. The period came to a conclusion. Horras had 13 saves to bring his total to 23. Annen had 6 saves and finished the game with 12.
The Crusaders switched goalies to start the third period. Max Schauff, a freshman, took over in goal. It was appearing the Warriors may escape the double minor, but with 1:48 remaining on the second penalty the Crusaders scored a power play goal. Zach Zanoya shot the puck past Horras with Carl Beglinger and Taylor Brown assisting on the play. However, this was as close as Edgewood would get. At 9:19 of the third, the Crusaders’ Nick Kanoff collect a 2:00 minor and 10:00 misconduct for checking from behind. The Warriors seemed to be following a theme as the didn’t score on the power play, but found the net 13 seconds after it ended. This time it was Austin Schrieber scoring with Alex Horras and Tyler Reynolds assisting on the goal. Waunakee’s Jason Ford concluded the scoring on the evening with Keegan Ford and Connor Scheffler being credited with assists. Horras finished the game with 37 saves and Schauff picked up 5 saves in the third for Edgewood.
There is the potential for these teams to meet one more time this season during the WIAA playoffs. Madison Edgewood is seeded at number 4 in Sectional 6 and has a first round bye. Waunakee is seeded fifth and will play host to #12 DeForest on February 14th with the winner going to Madison Ice Arena to take on Edgewood.
The fun is just getting started........