Unbeaten and top-ranked Appleton United traveled up to Antigo to take on the third-ranked Red Robins in the opening round of the Antigo Holiday Tournament. United tied the game late in the third period, then won on a shoot out, following a scoreless overtime period, to advance to the championship game against Bay Port.
Appleton drew first blood at 5:19 in the first period. Charging into the Antigo zone on a 3 on 2 rush, they got the puck to the front of the net, where Trenton Bliss put it in.
Antigo evened it up at 12:13. The Robins worked the puck around Appleton's zone and eventually got it to the front of thenet. Alex Nagel was there to put it in the net.
Antigo 1, Appleton 1 after 1. Appleton United goalie Dylan Phinney made 8 saves, while Antigo's Ryan Schmidt stopped 6.
Matt Winter put Antigo on top seconds after a United penalty expired with a slap shot from the top of the left face off circle. Arin VerHagen fed him the set-up pass.
Shortly after that, Bliss was called for holding He objected to the call and got another ten minutes tacked on for good measure. United managed to kill off the penalty, but had to do without the services of their leading scorer for the rest of the second period.
Michael Alfaro picked up the slack with a power play goal to tie the game, on a shot from the blue line through a screen.
Antigo 2, Appleton 2 after 2. 7 saves for Phinney in the second period, 6 for Schmidt.
Just over five minutes into the third period, Zach Levis flipped the puck up high out of the zone and over the United defenseman as Alex Nagel streaked up the ice. Nagel gained control of the puck and skated in on Phinney all alone. A couple of stick-moves later, the Robins had a 3-2 lead.
Several minutes of fast and furious, end-to-end action followed that goal, and prompted Appleton to use their time out with 5:21 remaining, if only to calm things down and let their players catch their breath.
Moments later, Appleton got the puck into the Antigo zone and pushed it to the front of the net. After a brief scramble, Connor Zilisch poked it in to tie the game at three each.
A scoreless eight-minute overtime period meant that the game officially ended as a 3-3 tie.
Each team scored three times on a five-man shootout, which was followed by a sudden death shootout, in which United scored in the second round.
Appleton advances to the championship game with Bay port, while Antigo will take on DC Everest in the consolation game.