The 2015-2016 high school hockey season has come to a close after crowning Appleton United the title of State Champions after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Hudson.
Hudson made their first trip back to the State Tournament after a twelve year drought while the tournament was a familiar setting for many members of Appleton United’s team. Appleton United made their second straight appearance at the Coliseum this year, their first trip to the Championship game.
Following the initial face-off between Trenton Bliss and Aaron Squires, the battle between Appleton United and Hudson began with the trophy on the line and the student sections firing chants back and forth across the ice.
The Raiders put the first goal of the game up on the scoreboard shortly after Appleton United killed off a penalty. Sam Johnson got the puck in the slot and fired it right past Dylan Phinney to take a 1-0 lead that stood until the end of the first period. George Nuutinen and Jack Flattum assisted on the play.
Appleton controlled the action in the second half of the period, bouncing back from a shot count deficit in the beginning of the game but couldn’t get the puck past Anthony Howard.
The second period started with Hudson holding a one goal advantage over United, but Trenton Bliss leveled the score with an unassisted backhanded tally. Appleton and Hudson generated several scoring opportunities despite United outshooting the Raiders 22-12 over two periods.
Appleton got their first lead of the game four minutes into the third period after Nathan Zilisch fired the puck at the net and Matthew Gruber picked up the rebound for the go ahead goal. Bradley Jacobson, Aaron Squires, and George Nuutinen rolled out a series of shots for Hudson but Phinney proved to be a brick wall in the net as the puck was cleared out of the zone.
Hudson pulled their goalie with under two minutes to play after a timeout but neither team could get the puck in the net, ending the game with a 2-1 win for Appleton United, the new State Champions.
All season long, Appleton United has been on a mission to complete their unfinished business from last season.