The Waupun Warriors returned to the facility that took them out of the playoffs last year in the playoffs: the Mullett Ice Center, home of the Arrowhead Warhawks.
This time they were after redemption and a chance to head into the Badgerland conference tournament riding high. That all changed at 4:47 in OT.
Both teams came out very aggressive racing up and down the ice. There was no feeling out time. Neither the Warriors or the Warhawks were able to break the goalline with the puck.
This was unusual for both teams. The stats shown that the Warhawks more so than Waupun, was a strong first period team dominating their opponents by 3 times the number of goals: 27 to 9. The Warriors also are a strong first period team outscoring their opponents 22 to 9. Not tonight for either team.
Both goalies, Peter Genatempo for Arrowhead and Caleb Sauer for Waupun, kept all attacks from getting past them in the first.
It wasn’t until the second period before the puck finally went in the net. Waupun was on a penalty at the start of the period by Cole Kamphuis. As the penalty ended, Waupun’s Colin Holz poke checked the puck from a Warhawk defenseman that squirted right to Kamphuis. Holz took off like a rocket and Kamphuis fed the puck back to Holz. With the break away, Holz was able to put a back hand chip over Genatempo blocker 1:04 in the period. Warriors strike first. 1-0.
The rest of the period continued on with the Warriors being the stronger team keeping the puck in the offense zone for almost twice the time as the Warhawks. Warriors outshot the Warhawks 13 to 6 but were unable to put another one past Genatempo.
However, this was a pretty good foreshadow of things that were to come. Arrowhead had been a team that played even with teams in the second while Waupun had really been strong outscoring opponents by 10 goals. The Warhawks left the ice down 1-0 after two but were feeling pretty good about their chances at home and having pretty strong third periods compared to their opponents. However the Warriors have also had strong third periods.
At the start of the third, the Warhawks came out on fire. The Warhawks were very physical against the Warriors. Waupun came out flat. 2:33 into the period, Arrowhead was able to score and tie the game.
Arrowhead’s leading scorer, Jaxon Carr, was in the perfect spot to pick up a rebound. Tyler Trivett received a D to D pass and fired it at the net. A ton of traffic was in front of Sauer who was screened and unable to see the puck. The shot ricocheted off Sauer’s pad right to the stick of Carr who hammered into the back of the net.
The period continued on with the Warhawks continuing to pressure the Warriors. Waupun looked tired as the period dragged on. As the horn sounded, the score was 1 - 1. OVERTIME.
Waupun flipped the energy level and came out attacking Arrowhead and Genatempo at the beginning of the extra session. The Warriors had three quick shots on goal but could not get one past Genetempo.
Then the puck took a big hop out of the zone to Trivett, who took off up the ice and as he went past a Warrior player, Waupun was called for slashing while trying to stop Trivett.
Arrowhead was on the powerplay for the fourth time of the game. The Warhawks were not going to let this opportunity go to waste. The leading scorer for Arrowhead sealed the win.
Carr recieved a pass from Trivett at the blue line. Carr was able to split two Waupun players and walk down to the right faceoff dot. Trivett had worked his way down to the back door of Sauer. Carr saw a small opening as Sauer was trying to read the pass, when Carr sniped a hard wrist shot passed Sauer’s blocker to win the game for the Warhawks at 3:13 in the OT. The secondary assist was given to Kyle O’Connor.
The Warriors demons are still alive at the Mullett.