When the WIAA state boys hockey brackets first came out, there were those who felt Classic 8 Conference rivals Arrowhead and Waukesha had a good chance to meet in the opening game of the WIAA state tournament at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. They weren't wrong.
The two Waukesha County teams will play for a second time this season when they open the state tournament at 11 a.m. Thursday, March 2.
On paper, the two teams appear equal. They shared the conference championship this past season in the Classic 8, and Arrowhead sports a 24-2-1 mark while Waukesha stands at 24-3. Both have been consistently good this season. Waukesha was ranked No. 3 and Arrowhead No. 4 in the latest state coaches poll.
"This is what we've worked for all season," said Arrowhead coach Carl Valimont, who has a career record at AHS of 219-77-10 in 13 seasons, a winning mark of 71.5 percent. "After last season, we challenged all of these guys to work hard in the offseason. We told them if they did that, good things could happen this year. Well, they bought into what we told them, and here we are, back at the state tournament. I'm proud of each and every one of these guys. Now, we have to go Madison and finish the job."