Wausau West scored early, maybe too early, just 40 seconds into the game. Then they never scored again as goalie Bryan Botcher shut the door and the University School Wildcats kept plugging along, eventually scoring the game winning goal 22 seconds into the second overtime to claim a 2-1 win and advance to the semi-final game tomorrow night.
The Wausau goal came on a nice pass/shot from Alex Gessler that went wide of the net where Cale Bowman was waiting to put it behind Botcher. West continued to put pressure on USM for the rest of the period, putting 13 shots on net. At the other end of the ice, Sam Wiegert stopped all three shots sent his way.
In the second period, the Wildcats drew even. Hayden Brown got the puck low in the face off circle on the right side and skated across the top of the crease putting a shot on Wiegert. Sam stopped the shot but left the rebound where Duncan Brown could see it and hammer it into the net at 5:50.
West again kept the pressure on, putting another 10 shots on Botcher, but USM coach wasn’t worried. “West is s stronger offensive team than we are, and Botcher was having the game of his life, and we were playing strong defensively. We told the kids not to take any chances, we had unlimited time to score the next goal, so be patient. The guys were selling out, blocking shots, just giving it everything they’ve got.”
Saves at the end of three periods were 39 for Botcher, 10 for Wiegert. After a three minute break 8:00 was put on the clock and the teams switched ends.
USM started putting on the pressure late in the first overtime, getting some good scoring chances including one shot off the pipe. Wiegert making some great saves. USM actually outshot West 5-2 in that overtime.
This time they flooded the ice and put 17:00 on the scoreboard clock.
They didn’t need all that time. The Wildcats got the puck into the West end off the draw, and Hayden Brown got the puck behind the net. He passed out front to a wide open Nick Epperson who wasted no time depositing the puck into the back of the net. Said Epperson, “I saw Hayden get the puck from the defenseman behind the net, and I found an open place in front. The long game was tiring, but after we won, we felt better.”