In the boys Section 2 final, the number one-seeded Eau Claire Memorial Old Abes took on the number two-seeded Regis-McDonell Saints in front of a sellout crowd with a trip to the State Tournament on the line. Both teams played a fast, physical game from the start, but the Old Abes dominated the scoring in their 5-0 win.
For the first four minutes of the game, end-to-end action dominated the play, the sectional final atmosphere tangible throughout the rink.
Bret Schwengler headed to the box on an interference call 5:40 into the first period to give the Saints the first advantage of the game. RM’s powerplay unit gave it their all, but the Old Abe defense held them to just three powerplay shots on net before taking control of the play with 20 seconds remaining shorthanded.
Chuck Bennis skated into the high slot and took a shot that redirected off the inside of the pipe over to Schwengler, who was waiting at the far side of the left cirle. Schwengler rifled a shot towards Armand Hess that bounced off his glove and trickled over the goal line just 13 seconds after the penalty had expired to give the Old Abes the 1-0 lead.
The Old Abes stole the momentum from that point on, and dominated the rest of the game.
With 38 seconds remaining in the first period, Nolan Rodriguez was called for a penalty that gave ECM their first powerplay of the game. It took Jake Bresser just 13 seconds to capitalize on the advantage.
Bresser took a shot from the point that took a funny bounce over Hess’ outstretched left pad for the goal. Andrew Emberson and Austin Phippen earned the helpers on the play.
The second period began, and the play remained tilted in ECM’s favor until Bresser was called for interference just over six minutes into the period, which gave the Saints the opportunity to level the play for two minutes.
Although RM couldn’t find the back of the net on their powerplay, they took several quality shot on net before the penalty expired.
Just over two minutes later, the Old Abes found themselves on the powerplay after a penalty on RM’s Phil Erickson.
It didn’t take long for Bresser to capitalize again. He skated the puck up the right side of the boards from the blue line and fired a shot from the bottom of the right circle that flew over Hess’ right shoulder and into the net for the 3-0 lead.
Bresser struck again a short minute and four seconds later. He took a shot from right in front of the net and showcased his persistence as he tucked his own rebound into the back of the net. Kadin Machusak earned an assist on the play.
The Saints came out ready to play in the third period.
Saints’ Noah Schober skated the puck around the back of the net and took a shot on net that almost put RM on the board for the first time that night, but Old Abe goaltender Nick Schreiter knocked it away before he had the chance to get it past him.
Bresser got his fourth goal of the night with 14:09 left to play. His shot from the goal line snuck past Hess and tallied the final goal in the 5-0 win for the Old Abes.
ECM goaltender Alex Geving took over in net with just over five minutes to play ifn the game. Several penalties plagued the last few minutes of play, but both teams exuded sportsmanship until the final whistle.