The Eau Claire Memorial Old Abes scored four times in the first period on the way to a 5-2 win over cross-town rival Eau Claire North in Saturday's Sectional 2 championship game this afternoon at Hobbs Ice Center.
For the seventh consecutive year, the Abes will represent the state's western sectional in the annual state tournament in Madison.
ECM tallied three times in a span of 2:48 in the middle of the first period to gain a 3-0 lead.
Dawson Schwengler scored on a nice backdoor play at 7:04, and then Ben Zacho got credit on a re-direct in the slot 49 seconds later. Schwengler punched in a rebound two minutes later to make it 3-0.
The Huskies cut the lead to 3-1 moments later on a hustling individual effort by Curtis Goodale.
The speedy junior grabbed a loose puck near the blue line and cruised in the Abes d-zone, cut across the slot and slid the puck past goalie Trevor Hudecek.
Half a minute later, a pair of Abes took it to the house.
Jacob Hudecek and Dylan Ross skated in on a 2-on-1 break, with Ross finishing from the low right side to give the Old Abes a 4-1 lead with just over three minutes to go in the initial period.
It would end that way, as Trevor Hudecek stopped three shots and North goalie Elijah McCarty—the much busier of the pair—had 12 saves in the period.
Schwengler completed his hat trick 1:36 into the middle period to give ECM a 5-1 cushion. Zacho earned his second assist on the play.
Each team had a power play chance later in the stanza but neither could convert as the teams skated off with the scoreboard showing a 5-1 Old Abes lead.
Hudecek had four saves in the period, while McCarty had 15 for North.
Sam Farber was in net for North to start the final period and played very well, finishing with 15 saves.
Carson Lemanski knocked in a rebound less than two minutes in to account for the final scoring, with Sam Stange earning a helper on the play.
Hudecek stopped nine shots in the period for a game total of 16, while McCarty (27) and Farber (15) combined for 42 saves for North.
Eau Claire North finished the season with a fine 18-9 record for first-year coach Ryan Parker. It was their first double-digit win season since 2004-05.
The Abes improved to 22-3-2 and will open Quarterfinal Thursday in a match against the Antigo Red Robins.