The Waunakee Warriors started their 2013-14 campaign with a decisive 7-0 victory at Eble Ice Arena on Nov. 23 over the Marquette Warriors. Four shorthanded goals (B.Ripley-2; J.Thousand and J.Hudecek) and a stellar performance by senior goaltender Nick Fellows, proved too much for Marquette to handle.
The annual Paul Meyer Memorial Tournament at the University School of Milwaukee has been a traditional early season trek for Waunakee. This year, the Warriors faced cross-county rivals Middleton on Friday (Nov. 29). The action was up and down the ice and very evenly matched all game. Middleton notched one goal in the second and added another in their third. The Warriors just couldn't get the puck past Cardinal goalie Tony Wuesthofen, and lose to Middleton 2-0.
Saturday's consolation game featured the Warriors against a team from Minneapolis, MN; a co-op team made up of nine (9) high schools in the Twin Cities. (Must have flexible rules in MN about co-ops...).
The Warriors were given a golden opportunity just 5 minutes into the 1st period with a 5 minute power play, but it was Mpls lighting the lamp first; putting in a shorthanded goal to go up 1-0 after period one.
Waunakee had another power play opportunity in the 2nd period, and this time it was sophomore forward Blake Ripley evening up the score with help from linemates Jacob Thousand and Chevy Ford. It was Ford who put the Warriors up 2-1 on a nifty power play goal at the 10:28 mark of the 2nd period. Thousand was credited with the assist.
Less than 2 minutes into the 3rd stanza, Mpls tied it up on a 2 on 1 rebound goal to make it 2-2. Many in the rink sensed that neither team would run away from the other either in the corners or on the scoreboard. Massive collisions in the corners and in front of both goaltenders indicated the level of intensity found on both benches as the game wound down.
Another power play goal by Ford put Waunakee up 3-2 after Mpls bench received a bench minor; giving the Warriors a 5 on 3 opportunity, which gave Ford his second power play goal of the night. A grinding garbage goal by freshman forward David Westrich, which was assisted by fellow freshman Justin Kakuska, put Waunakee up 4-2, and it was 4-3 with just 3:50 left.
Mpls pulls their goalie in the last minute and ties the game at 4 with a mere 15 ticks left in regulation. Let's go to overtime!
Several solid chances in overtime for both teams were denied by the goaltenders. Head Coach Eric Olson calls a time out with 1:06 to play. It was the Ripley line who took the offensive zone draw and cleaned up a loose puck for the game winner in overtime. Ripley gets the goal with an assist credited to Ford. Waunakee goalie Nick Fellows stops 44 shots to earn his second victory of the short season.
Waunakee opens home action this week with two games, Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) against Oregon and McFarland respectively.