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Appleton United strong in middle period in 4-1 win

03/04/2016, 7:00pm CST
By Michael Trzinski, WiPH Staff

Phinney stops 27 shots in winning effort

Appleton United scored three times in the second period to take control and battled to a 4-1 victory over Eau Claire Memorial.

The Old Abes got on the board first, when the game was less than two minutes old.

Jacob Hudecek skated along the goal line on the left side and snapped a quick shot that snuck between the post and AU goalie Dylan Phinney's blocker for the 1-0 lead.

Hudecek almost converted again four minutes later but Phinney slid over on the backdoor pass and made the stop.

The action went back and forth without serious scoring opportunities until Sam Hanson tried to score on a breakaway, but once again Phinney stood tall and rejected the shot with just over three minutes left in the period.

A minute later, AU hit a home run pass to tie the game.

Trenton Bliss had the puck at the blue line and sent it ahead to Erik Bargholtz, who was at the opposite blue line. The freshman caught the puck in stride, made a couple dekes, and slid the puck past ECM goalie Trevor Hudecek to tie the game.

The period ended with a tie score and ECM holding an 11-5 shot edge.

United took over in the middle period, scoring three times in seven minutes to take a 4-1 lead.

Bargholtz nearly scored early, but Hudecek slid across and made a nice pad save to stave off the threat.

With about 12 minutes left, an apparent ECM goal was waived off, no explanation given.

Nathan Zilisch gave United a 2-1 lead when he punched a rebound back past the netminder after the initial save. Lucas McKinnon and Matthew Gruber earned helpers on the play.

The lead got bumped to 3-1 with a bit more than five minutes remaining when Gruber did some dirty work in the corner and freed up the puck for McKinnon, who skated in front and slipped the puck past the goalie's right leg pad.

Less than a minute later, Connor Zilisch took the puck in on a semi-break and zipped the puck into the net to make it 4-1. Bliss and Cole Luken had assists on the play.

Shots were nearly even, with AU holding a 7-6 edge in the period.

Neither team scored in the final period, thanks to 11 saves by Phinney and four by Hudecek.

Phinney finished with 27 saves while Hudecek ended with 12 for the game.

Appleton United (26-2) moves to tomorrow's championship game, facing the winner of the second semi between Waukesha and Hudson.

Eau Claire Memorial finishes the season with a fine mark of 23-4-2.

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