The University School boys’ hockey team lost to Monona Grove 2-1 in a non-conference game Friday at USM.
The Wildcats out shot the Silver Eagles, but only freshman Nick Epperson was able to put one of those shots into the Monona Grove net. USM gave up a power play goal late in the third period and, consequently, lost the game.
USM’s coach Tim Quinn said, “Tonight's loss stings. Our effort was there, and we stuck to our game plan, which means we should have won, but we simply couldn't find the back of the net. We generated chance after chance and outshot them 33 to 18. We also only gave up two goals, one of which came on the power play. Generally, when you do those things, you win, but it wasn't the case tonight. We're going to need to come back tomorrow with the same effort, only we're going to have to bear down in front a little more and will that puck into the net. We're in a bit of a scoring slump, and have dropped two games in a row, but I still like the way we have been playing and know that we'll turn things around.”
There was no scoring in the game’s opening period during which the Wildcats got off 10 shots and the Silver Eagles 5. Monona Grove went ahead in the opening minutes of the second period when senior Travis Johnston hit his twin brother Zach Johnston with a cross-ice pass in center ice, sending Zach Johnston into the USM on a breakaway. Johnston fired a quick shot that beat USM’s senior goaltender, Bryan Botcher, with a low shot just inside the left post at 0:39.
USM finally scored a goal to tie it late in the same period. From the USM zone, junior Hayden Brown sent a breakout pass to his older brother, senior Duncan Brown, at the center of the USM blue line. Duncan Brown immediately bulleted a pass to the stick of freshman Nick Epperson who was racing like a Kentucky Derby challenger down the left side. Epperson sped into the Monona Grove zone. As he neared the circle he unleashed a hard shot that beat Monona Grove’s freshman goalie Andryl Nashirniak at 12:49.
Monona Grove scored on a power play goal at 12:57 of the third period. The Silver Eagles got the puck into the USM zone and moved it around. Eventually it went to Zach Johnston, who moved it along to junior Andrew Schuchardt on the left circle. Schuchardt saw junior Alec West angling into the slot and passed him the puck. West one-timed a shot into the USM net for the game winner.
USM is now 5-3-1 overall and 1-0-1 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats resume their long-standing rivalry with Madison Edgewood in a non-conference clash at 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 4th at USM.