The University School boys’ hockey team defeated Greendale 8-1 in a Classic Eight Conference game on Friday, January 13th at Wilson Park in Milwaukee.
The Wildcats kept the Ice Force goalie, Jason Cooke, busy. Cooke made 43 saves as USM averaged a shot a minute, outshooting the Ice Force 51-24 in the lopsided victory. At the other end of the ice, freshman Gordy Leech turned aside 23 shots to record the first victory of his varsity career.
“After a bit of a sluggish start,” said Jason Woods, USM’s head coach, “I thought we did some really good things. We started to share the puck, which created a number of quality chances. We are capable of fantastic things, and we can be tough to stop when we make the easy play and pass the puck. I thought Gordy did a great job in net, collecting his first varsity win. Also, it was great to see TJ Fenton and Alvin Pokel step in for some of our sick players and do well. That's seven freshmen who have played key minutes this year for us. They are producing and getting better every day. You can't help but be excited for their futures.”
USM scored the game’s first goal early in the first period. Defenseman Charlie Mahoney got a loose puck along the left boards in center ice and skated with it into the Greendale zone. He centered a pass to Christian Blomquist in the slot. Blomquist took a shot. The puck rebounded to Will Kennedy, who knocked it under Cooke at 3:45.
The Wildcats went further ahead at 11:49. In the Greendale end, Brandon McGill collected the puck in the left corner and threw it out front to Nick Epperson who quickly fired it past Cooke.
The Ice Force scored their only goal in the last minute of the first period. Ian Rybarik took a shot from the left point . The puck hit a player in front of the net and bounced to the left. Bailey Beierle swooped in, grabbed it, flew across the low slot, and tucked the puck into the net at 16:11.
The Wildcats scored four goals in the second period. They made the score 3-1 at 7:10. On a breakout from the USM zone, McGill launched a diagonal cross-ice pass to Epperson, who skated into the Greendale zone then zipped a pass to Logan Geisness who was racing down the slot. Geisness reached out his stick and tipped the incoming puck past Cooke for the score.
Less than two minutes later the Wildcats scored again. Robby Newton got the puck in the high slot and fired it toward the Greendale net. Blake Carey caught the puck at the side of the net and put a low shot on Cooke’s pads. The rebound bounced out to Newton who was roaring down the slot like a stampeding stallion. Newton one-timed a shot into the net at 9:04.
Carey and Newton combined for USM’s next goal on their next shift. Carey skated with the puck into the Greendale zone along the left boards. He centered a pass to Newton who swiftly gunned a wrist shot just under the cross bar for the goal at 10:46.
The Wildcats scored their fourth goal of the period at 15:58. Epperson skated the puck into the right circle and took a shot. The puck bounced off of Cooke to McGill who quickly fired it. Cooke stopped it, but like a letter marked return to sender, the puck went back to McGill who slotted his next attempt for a goal.
The Wildcats scored two more goals in the final period. Carey scored at 2:14 off an assist by Carson Mogush, and Epperson scored a short-handed goal at 12:43 with assists from Geisness and Kylar Fenton.
The win gave USM a 9-4 overall record and a 2-2 mark in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats’ next game is against old-time rival St. Mary’s Springs in a non-conference game at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 14th at the Blue Line Family Ice Center in Fond du Lac.