Well, here we are, less than one day away from the opening game of the 2017 State Hockey Tournament. It seems like the season just started yesterday, yet there are only three days left until the 'off-season' starts.
And in honor of 'Q Thursday,' here are a few memorable games from the last 15 years or so, coinciding with the arrival of this little hockey website that a few people know about.
2003: In the final game of the evening session, Verona and New Richmond battled into a third overtime period before the Tigers' Josh Calleja ended the game with just 41 seconds left in that period. The game time was 68:19 and on the clock, it was 2 hours, 55 minutes. Matt Page earned the win, stopping 44 of 45, while Glenn Walker was just as good for Verona, making 48 saves while losing 2-1. The Tigers would go on to lose 3-2 to Superior in the title game.
2004: Making their first state appearance, heavy underdog Sauk Prairie was leading Hudson 3-2 late in the second period when their goalie, Josh Johnson, was removed from the game for an injury he suffered. I can't recall if he got run over or was hit by a puck, but the magic went away and the Raiders went on to score four straight goals and earn a 6-3 win. They would go on to win their second title, defeating Superior 2-0. Johnson had stopped 24 of 26 shots in a scintillating performance that had much of the crowd rooting for a win by 'David.'
2006: In the 'Game That Would Never End,' Wisconsin Rapids got a wraparound goal by Anthony Knuth at the 98:33 mark of the contest to edge Middleton, 2-1, equating to the sixth overtime period. Tyler Ambroziak stopped 36 pucks for Rapids, while Taylor Whitmore made 33 saves for Middleton. It was a state record for overtimes in a game. The game lasted 3 hours, 44 minutes and ended at 11:28pm. Totally gassed, Rapids would lose to Fond du Lac 3-2 in the semifinals 20 hours later.
2009: Rice Lake got a goal from Trae Coleman early in the second period and went on to shut out favored Verona 1-0 in the last game of the evening session. It was a defensive battle with 34 total shots on goal, with Tanner Cernick earning the shutout victory. The Warriors would lose to Fond du Lac 4-2 in the semifinals the next evening.
2010: University School got a game-winner from Alex Tesensky midway through the overtime period to knock off favored Stoughton 4-3. Simon Leahy had two goals and an assist to lead USM, who would go on to beat Notre Dame and Wausau West for their second state championship.
2012: Brookfield came from two goals down and scored the game-winner in overtime to knock off heavily favored Eau Claire Memorial, 3-2. PJ Corbett tallied the winner two minutes into the extra period. Brookfield would then lose to Wausau West in the semifinal round.
2015: Superior, although never an 'underdog,' came into the Thursday game with a record of 11-14-1 and managed to win their 13th state title by knocking off Janesville 4-2, Cedarburg 3-0, and Wausau West 6-0 to even their mark at 14-14-1. It just goes to show: never count out Souptown!
Those are a few of my favorite games...feel free to share yours on Facebook or in the comments section below.
Get ready—the puck drops in just 16 hours!