A tight defensive game was decided by special teams as the Hudson Raiders got a pair of power play goals to beat the Waukesha Wings 2-1 to claim the 2017 WIAA State Hockey Championship.
The big question coming into the championship game was could Waukesha keep up with Hudson for three periods. The Wings had used primarily two lines, with spot duty out of a third line for the first two games, while Hudson had skated everybody in their two games. Could Hudson use that depth to their advantage as the game wore on?
The Wings answered with a resounding “Yes”. They kept up, they just could not crack the Hudson defense often enough.
The first penalty of the game was called on Waukesha’s Izaiah Dietrich for hooking. That gave Hudson the first power play opportunity, and they didn’t waste it. Ben Lundeen put a low shot on net, and the rebound ended up at the top of the crease. George Nuutinen picked it up and stepped to his left to find room around Waukesha goalie Garrett Larsen, and put the Raiders up 1-0.
Two minutes into the second period, the Wings Ryan Nemeth was flagged for interference, putting the Raiders back on the power play. It only took 14 seconds for Grady Gornick to get the puck to Chase Blackmun, who rifled a slapshot from the top of the right circle over Larsen and under the crossbar.
It was then Hudson’s turn to take penalties. The Raiders managed to kill off the first one, but with Isaiah Bewell off for slashing, Waukesha cashed in on their second try. Ian Malcolmson made a nifty change of direction just outside the Raiders blue line, and then skated in along the left boards. When he got to the hash marks, he spotted Wyatt Wilderman streaking down the slot and fed him a perfect lead pass. Wilderman got his stick out front and redirected the pass up and over Raider goalie Anthony Howard to cut Hudson’s lead in half. It was only the fourth time that Hudson has allowed a power play goal this season.
The teams traded power plays and scoring chances down the stretch, but there would be no more scoring.