For Section Three, it was deja vu all over again.
For the second straight year, the north central Wisconsin sectional found itself in an overtime session of the championship game at the Senior Class Tournament.
But this year they faced WHCA Player of the Year Ian Malcolmson.
The Waukesha star made his presence known—not only in the game with two goals and two assists, but with a clutch overtime game-winner midway through the extra period to lead S7 to an exciting 6-5 win over S3 Sunday afternoon in Waupun.
Early on, it looked like S3 was going to gain the advantage as a Brody Richards shot clanged off the helmet of S7 goalie Paul McLean and landed in the crease behind the netminder. But before Three could put a digit on the scoreboard, an S7 defenseman cleared the puck out of harm's way to deny the possible score.
Two minutes later, Nick Techel skated across the slot from right to left and as the goalie moved, slid the puck through the wickets to give S3 a 1-0 lead at the 2:38 mark. Dominik Hofman earned an assist on the play.
It took until the middle of the opening period, but Section 7 tied the score when Wyatt Wilderman scored from the slot area, with assists from Malcolmson and Tyler Jensen at 9:27.
S3 took its final lead of the contest late in the first period. Justin Gibbons got behind the defense and flipped the puck over McLean from the mid-slot area for the 2-1 lead. Noah Hablewitz had an assist on the play.
McLean had nine saves in the period, while S3 goalie Zach Bednar stopped 10 shots on the other end.
Wilderman almost tied the score on a nifty play early in the second. As he skated across the slot, he slid the puck past his defender, slipped around him and caught his own pass and zipped a low shot that Bednar had to stretch every inch of his 6-foot-1 frame in order to make the right pad save behind him.
Eighty seconds later, Scott Johnson grabbed a rebound in the slot and punched it past the goalie to tie the game at two. Brandon Peterson and Tyler Perkins were credited with helpers on the play for Section 7.
Wilderman and Malcolmson teamed up for the third S7 goal in the middle of the period. Wilderman's shot from the left circle hit the crossbar and dropped straight down to the side of the net, where Malcolmson was waiting. The easy tap-in made it 3-2 with just over nine minutes left.
After both teams switched goalies—an unwritten SCT rule—S7 goalie Jack Bostedt was tested on a short-handed 2-on-1 break, but stood tall and denied the scoring attempt.
Nathaniel McComb gave S7 a 4-2 lead when he collected a pass on the left side and snuck the biscuit past the left pad of goalie Bryan Bresina. George Sullivan had an assist on the play.
Just over a minute later, Wilderman scored his second goal of the day when he put the puck past the tender for a seemingly commanding 5-2 lead with just over two minutes left in the middle stanza. Perkins and Malcolmson had assists on the score.
The period ended with S7 holding a huge shot edge, 20-6. McLean and Bostedt teamed up to make six saves, while Bednar and Bresina combined for 16 stops.
That set up a wild third period that saw S3 come back to tie the game.
After an S3 penalty at the very end of the second, Section 7 had a power play to start the third but failed to score. S3 would not fail.
Shortly after the power play expired, Gibbons came down the right side and scored from the bottom of the circle to cut the lead to 5-3 at the 2:27 mark. Jacob Kowalkowski had an assist on the play.
Each team had a power play chance midway through the period, but S3 would score a 4-on-4 even strength goal.
Kyle Wuestenhagen picked up a loose puck in the right circle and went high glove past the goalie to whittle the lead to 5-4 with 6:26 left in regulation.
Section 3 had 26 seconds' worth of 5-on-3, but waited for the 'simple' man advantage to score the equalizer.
Kellen Tharaldson fired a shot from the right point through traffic to tie the game with 4:20 left. Matej Huncik had an assist on the play.
Section 7 had a power play chance late, but it was S3 that almost scored while playing a man short. Huncik had a semi-breakaway and made one deke before loosing a shot that Bostedt kicked away with his right pad with 1:30 left.
As time was winding down to :00, Peterson pulled down S3's Austin Burgener in the right circle. After a short amount of discussion among the officials, the raised, crossed-arms signal went up, signifying a penalty shot.
Burgener advanced toward the goalie as the fans waited to explode upon the result, only to see Bostedt make a solid glove save to send the game to free hockey, much to the joy of his teammates.
Bostedt made nine stops while Bresina made 12 saves for S3.
Malcolmson ended the contest with 4:22 left in OT to give S7 the victory, with an assist to Wilderman.
In the extra period, Bostedt stopped all five shots he faced with Bresina stopping two of three.