On the periodic table of elements, atomic number 79 is Au, otherwise known as gold. AU is also an acronym for the hockey team known as Appleton United.
Friday night, Appleton United was golden as almost everything they touched turned into that precious metal in a 6-2 win over Fox Cities at Tri-County Ice Arena.
United scored four times in the opening period and never looked back.
Sophomore Erik Bargholtz began the scoring for AU just over four minutes in with his unassisted goal to make it 1-0.
A couple minutes later, Matthew Gruber's breakaway was rejected by FC goalie Max Gutjahr, but Liam Johnson was there to collect the rebound to increase the lead to 2-0.
Almost exactly one minute later, Bargholtz scored on a rebound from the low left circle to give United a 3-0 lead. Connor Zilisch earned a helper on the scoring play.
Fox Cities cut the lead to 3-1 on Noah Krueger's rebound power play goal with 4:43 left. Hunter Schwehr and Noah Hablewitz were credited with assists on the play.
Moments later, Schwehr was sent off on a boarding major and United spun straw into gold as they scored a pair of power play goals spanning the end of the period and early in the middle period.
First, Kieran Brosnan scored from the low right side, with assists to Bargholtz and Zilisch to make it 4-1 with 3:45 left in the stanza.
Things got so bad that the officials booted a penalty box attendant for voicing displeasure with one call made by the gents in stripes. Adios, muchacho, and the game moved on.
The period soon ended with the guests holding a 4-1 lead. Shots were 13-11 in favor of AU.
The estimated crowd of 800 saw another power play goal by United as Zilisch scored just 30 seconds into the period on a rebound to make it 5-1, with Gruber marked down for an assist.
The Stars had a golden (pardon the pun) opportunity to make hay, as they had one power play chance plus 83 seconds of 5-on-3, but Appleton United held fast and kept the lid on the net as Fox Cities failed to capitalize in the middle of the period.
United soon scored its sixth goal on a shot from the lower left circle by Greyson Maulick with just 50 seconds left in the period. Gruber and Mitchell Lund were given assists on the play.
Fox Cities held a 10-6 shot edge in the period.
The Stars shone brightly early in the third as Jonathon Kwasny skated down the right side and loosed a wrister from the outside of the right circle that appeared to handcuff AU goalie Gage Olson to cut the lead to 6-2. Hablewitz earned assist number two on the play.
Gutjahr came out for an extra skater with just under three minutes left but had to return with a minute left as a faceoff was in the Stars zone.
The game ended with Appleton United claiming a 6-2 victory and moving on in Sectional 5. They will meet top-seeded Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha next Tuesday at Tri-County.
The Stars (17-8) outshot AU 14-4 in the period but were unable to cut into the AU lead after the early period goal.
United improves to 16-8-1 on the campaign.