The University School boys’ hockey team defeated Madison Edgewood 8-4 in a non-conference game on Saturday, December 10th at the LaBahn Arena in Madison.
After the Wildcats lost to Arrowhead on Thursday, December 8th, USM’s head coach Jason Woods and his coaching staff re-arranged the lines. The effect sparked the Wildcats. They rallied from behind twice in the game against Edgewood and outshot the Crusaders 45-25. USM had six different players score goals. Nick Epperson led USM with three goals, while Charlie Mahoney, Carson Mogush, Brandon McGill, Christian Blomquist, and Andrew Malek each tallied one.
After the game, Woods had this to say about the victory, “I’m really happy with this one today, and extremely proud of our effort; we were really flying. It was a terrific response by the guys tonight. There’s a long list of kids who stepped up, none more than Brandon McGill and Christian Bloomquist. I am hard on both of them, but at the end of the day, I believe in them fully. Tonight, they rewarded that belief. Hats off to the defense as well, we gave up some goals but played very solid when the game was on the line. We will build off this one.”
The Crusaders marched into the lead in the game’s opening seconds. They moved into the USM zone. Fred Richards stopped an errand clearing attempt at the right point and fired the puck in deep. Bryce Ternus got it below the goal line and centered it into the slot. Nathan Rehm darted in from the left point and slapped it past USM’s goalie, Frank Fee, at 0:40.
The Wildcats tied it late in the same period. After Fee made several big saves during an Edgewood power play, Logan Geisness came on the ice to even the team numbers. Robby Newton hit him with a pass, sending Geisness racing down ice. He went deep into the Crusaders’ end, turned, and centered the puck. Defenseman Charlie Mahoney was trailing the play and received the puck like it was a gift from Santa’s sleigh. Mahoney one-timed a shot past Ben Cegelski, Edgewood’s goalie, at 13:30.
The Wildcats pulled ahead with two goals early in the second period. They scored the first of these at 0:53 while skating short-handed. Casey Roepke gathered in a loose puck in the center of the Wildcats’ zone and sent a stretch pass to Geisness in center ice. Geisness moved to the boards then centered a pass to Epperson who was speeding through the center like a passenger late for a plane. Epperson moved into the Edgewood zone all alone, deked Cegelski, and put USM into the lead.
The Wildcats made it 3-1 a few minutes later. Roepke got the puck low in the USM zone and fired it up the boards. The puck skipped past a Crusader defender and tumbled all the way down into the left corner of the Edgewood end. Brandon McGill raced to it, and without looking, he backhanded a pass into the slot to Carson Mogush. Mogush one-timed a shot past Cegelski at 3:58.
Edgewood edged closer less than a minute after that. Teddy Kluesner intercepted a pass in center ice and tipped it toward the USM blue line. Ternus grabbed it, skated into the slot on a breakaway and gunned a shot past Fee at 4:26.
The Crusaders re-tied the game at 7:55 while on a five-on-three power play. Stationed at the top of the right circle in the USM zone, Carter Hottmann receive a pass from the mid-point from Bryce Kessel. Hottmann rapidly fired a slap shot through a screen and past Fee.
Edgewood still had the power play, and another power play goal put the Crusaders back into the lead. After the Crusaders set up in the USM zone, Drew Lenz passed the puck from the left circle to Kessel at the point. He forwarded it to Hottmann in the right circle, and Hottmann drilled another slap shot past Fee at 8:35.
The Wildcats used their own power play to tie the score once more. In the Edgewood zone, Epperson got the puck in the right circle and passed it to Roepke at the center of the blue line. Roepke fired a shot that McGill tipped in, making the score 4-4 at 10:35.
USM scored four unanswered goals in the third period to put the game away. They scored the game-winning goal at 3:12. Geisness swiped the puck from an Edgewood defender along the right boards in the Crusaders’ zone. He wheeled out along the blue line and cut sharply into the slot. He spotted Blomquist skating toward the net in the right circle and placed a pass onto his stick like a beverage on a waiter’s tray. Blomquist took two steps then lined a shot past Cegelski to give USM a 5-4 advantage.
The Wildcats made it 6-4 a little over two minutes later. While on a power play in the Crusaders’ zone, Kylar Fenton passed the puck to Epperson who skated around the right circle, and from the slot took a shot. McGill got the rebound and sent it to Geisness in the left circle. He swiped at it, but the puck bounced past. Epperson was behind him, caught the puck, and quickly shot it into the net at 5:44.
The Wildcats went further ahead at 10:58. Epperson collected the puck along the right boards in the USM zone and whipped it into center ice. The puck bounced off a skate of a defender and skipped to Malek. Malek raced past the defender, went in on a breakaway, and blazed a near-in shot into the Edgewood net.
During a power play, Epperson scored the game’s final goal in the game’s final second from the top of the circle off of passes by Geisness and McGill.
After the game, Epperson commented on the turn of events, “It was a great bounce back after the loss to Arrowhead. Once we found our bearings with the new lines and got to work, it seemed to go our way Also, Frank came up huge on key saves.”
USM is now 5-2 and 0-1 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats play the Waukesha Co-op in a Classic Eight Conference game on Tuesday, December 13th at the Nagawaukee Ice Arena in Delafield.