The second half of the hockey season and first game of 2014 for Onalaska and Middleton. The Hilltoppers entered the game with a 9-1-0 record, while the Middleton Cardinals were at 5-4-1. The first shot on goal came with 11:57 remaining in the first period. Onalaska had a 3 on 2 rush with 11:20 on the clock and the shot by Ian Earp went wide right. Middleton was able to get the puck down in the offensive zone, where Joey Duff had a nice centering pass from behind the net to Taylor Dickert for a one timer. However, Dickert topped the puck and Joe Witz made the soft save for the Hilltoppers. However, at the end of the first period the score remained deadlocked at 0-0. Joe Witz had 7 saves for Onalaska, while Zach Kasdorf had 9 saves for the Cardinals.
We were able to catch up with Coach Tim Ebner between the first and second period. We asked, "What did you see in the first period that you need to do better or take advantage of?"
Coach Ebner replied, "We need to get our speed going. The first game after a long break and we don't practice much over it. Now we have to work on getting the flow going again."
The second period started very similar to the first period, a lot of up and down the ice action, but very few shots on goal. Middleton lights the lamp at 4:56 of the period, when Jordan Carey scores with Casey Harper and Eric Karwoski assisting.
Onalaska's Dakota Marcon was called for cross-checking, when trying to clear Middleton from in front of the net with 11:45 showing on the clock. The Hilltoppers killed off the penalty, but were called for another penalty with 7:49 reaming. This time Bennett Hutson went to the sin bin for head contact. The Cardinals ended up with a breakaway shortly into the period, but Witz turned Carey's shot away.
Middleton's Eric Karwoski was called for roughing at 11:52 of the second period. Onalaska called their timeout to regroup prior to the power play. The Hilltoppers did excellent job setting up the power play and were able to get a quick one-timer off by Austin Lubinsky from the low slot, but the shot was stopped by Kasdorf with about 40 seconds remaining on the power play. The Cardinals killed off the penalty with Kasdorf making at least four saves.
Onalaska picked up their third penalty of the period, when Luke Tepp went to the box for boarding with 3 minutes remaining in the second period. Fifteen seconds later, Middleton's Taylor Dickert made it 4 on 4 as he was called for interference. Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the period. Middleton led at the end of two 1-0. Witz had 8 saves and Kasdorf had 9 saves.
At the conclusion ofan and assist from Taylor the second period, Middleton's Davis Bunz was called for Unsportsmanlike and issued a 2:00 and 10:00 misconduct. Onalaska would start the period on the power play. Shortly after the penalty expired, Middleton's Vaughn Kottler was called for holding. Onalaska was able to capitalize on the power play 38 seconds later at 3:10 of the third period. Caleb Blank scored the goal with Ian Earp and John Gagaro assising. The Hilltoppers took the lead with 13:08 remianing in the third period as Luke Tepp scored with an assist from Bryce Bingham. Middleton came back and tied the score at 2 with 9:15 left in the third on a goal by Brendan Sheehan and an assist by Taylor Dickert. The Cardinals took the lead at the 8:56 mark as Jordan Hybert found the back of the goal with Jordan Carey and Nikko Miller being credited with assists.
Miller found himself visiting the penalty box with remaining in the game as he was called for interference. Middleton increased their lead to two, as a shot by Eric Karwoski went five hole off a deflection and assists being credited to Vaughn Kottler and Garrett Graf at 12:03 of the third. Middleton's Carey scored again with 52.6 seconds remaining giving the Cardinals a 5 - 2 win. Witz had 5 saves and Kasdorf had 12 saves.