The WIAA playoffs have begun and the Aquinas Avalanche traveled to Lake Delton to play RWD in the first round. This would be the second meeting of these two teams this season. RWD was victorious on December 3rd as they won 3-0. Both teams entered the game knowing the only option now is win or go home.
The first period found Aquinas going on the power play 7 minutes into the game as RWD’s Cole Carrig was called for charging. Aquinas was unable to capitalize on the opportunity and Aquinas’ Justin Kendall was called for hooking with 39 seconds remaining on the penalty. Both teams killed off their respective penalties and skated at full strength, until Zach Zobel of RWD was called for tripping with 1:13 remaining in the period. The first period ended as it started with the game deadlocked at 0. Tyler Arneson had 7 saves for RWD, while Gunnar Markgren had 11 saves for Aquinas.
RWD was able to kill off 47 seconds of penalty time to start the second period. The officials called coincidental minors at 1:55 of the second and sent RWD’s Andrew Schulenburg to the sin bin for roughing, while the Avalanche’s Dalton Lee went for head contact. The teams continued to skate 5 on 5. Lawrence Jones of Aquinas was called for tripping at 8:21 of the second period. The Avalanche killed off the penalty and the game was still knotted at 0. Zobel was called for roughing with 4:24 remaining in the second and the Avalanche were on the power play. Aquinas’ Lee was called for tripping at 13:26 of the second period and the teams would skate 4 on 4 hockey for the next 70 seconds. Zach Clisch gave RWD the 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal at the 14 minute mark of the second period during the 4 on 4 play. The period came to an end with RWD leading 1-0. Markgren had 14 saves for a two period total of 25, while Arneson had 6 saves for a two period total of 13.
Both teams continued to battle throughout the third period. Cole Carrig was called for tripping with 3:51 remaining in regulation. Once again, RWD was able to kill off the penalty. The Avalanche tied the game with 56.5 seconds remaining in regulation as Justin Kendall was able to burst past the RWD skaters, fire a quick shot to score with Dom Antony and Dalton Lee assisting on the play. Regulation came to an end with everything gridlocked at 1. Arneson had 5 saves for a total of 18, while Markgren had 8 saves for a total of 33.
Neither team was able to score in the first eight minute overtime. The second overtime was a 17 minute overtime. RWD sent the hometown fans home happy as Jordan Bill scored an even strength goal with an assist from Zach Zobel with 1:30 remaining in the second overtime. Markgren had 11 saves in the two overtimes and finished with 44 saves for the game. Arneson had 4 saves in the two overtimes for a total of 22.
RWD advances to the second round of playoffs and will play #3 Baraboo/Portage in Baraboo at 7:30 PM on Thursday, February 20th.