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Witz stars in 4-3 Hilltopper victory

By Michael Trzinski, 03/06/14, 11:00PM CST


Junior netminder makes 34 saves in quarterfinal win

Onalaska scored two goals in the middle period and held on despite a late KMMO charge to grab a 4-3 win in the final quarterfinal game Thursday at the AEC.

KMMO came out hard early and got on the board first, less than a minute into the game. Jeff Johnson scored from the left faceoff circle on an assist from Andy Behling just 48 seconds in.

There was a lot of back and forth with few good scoring chances as both goalies kept the puck out of the net until the Hilltoppers drew even on a power play.

Bryce Bingham scored from the bottom of the right circle as his shot beat KMMO goalie Max LeClaire as it either glanced off the goalie's arm or glove. Jason Havlicek earned the assist on the play that came at 10:30.

Four minutes later, Tyler Ebner came in on a breakaway, but his back-handed chance was trapped by LeClaire for a nice save.

The period ended with the score even at one and shots even at nine.

The second period began with Ona goalie Joe Witz making two nice stick saves on close-in shots.

Two minutes later Ebner tried a similar move to the one in the first period and his shot was stopped again, but he was able to gather in the rebound and bounce a shot off the goalie to give the Hilltoppers a 2-1 lead at 3:38, with an assist to Caleb Blank.

It appeared that KMMO tied the game less than thirty seconds later, but the goal was waived off due to an offside call.

Onalaska took a 3-1 lead three minutes later on a rebound goal by Ian Earp. Bingham earned an assist on the scoring play at 6:49.

The Hilltoppers nearly added to their lead a few minutes later, but LeClaire made two stops on point-blank chances.

The Lasers took advantage of a power play with just under four minutes left. Alex Manske made a nice pass from the left circle to the backdoor, where Allan Moutvic converted as he fell to the ice. Jonathan Carfagna also got an assist on the play.

WiPH Game Summaries

The period ended with Onalaska holding a slim 3-2 lead, as KMMO held an 11-9 shot edge in the session.

KMMO tied the game just over six minutes into the final period. Moutvic scored his second goal on a coast-to-coast score with just ten seconds left on the power play.

LeClaire made a great save two minutes later as Ebner got behind the defense and had time to pick a spot, but LeClaire denied him with a blocker save.

Witz made a pair of good stops late as the Lasers had a couple close-in chances.

Luke Tepp got the game-winner for Ona when he grabbed the puck at the left circle and skated in, beating LeClaire on the short side at 13:10.

Each team had a power play opportunity late in the game but neither one scored.

Ona earned the hard-fought 4-3 win, depsite getting outshot 17-11 in the period.

Witz stopped 34 shots for the win, while LeClaire made 25 saves on his end for KMMO.

Pre-Game Interviews

These interviews are from earlier in the day Thursday.