Saturday marked the first time that the numbers one and two seeded teams have met in the Championship Game of the Badgerland Conference Tournament, as the Waupun Warriors hosted the Ledgers of St. Mary’s Springs.
The two teams met early in the regular season, with the Warriors taking a 3-2 win back on December 5th. It was the Ledgers only conference loss.
The goalies came into the game sporting matching .948 save percentages with Springs’ Colin Ahern edging Waupun’s Caleb Sauer for first team all conference honors. Sauer had to settle for second team.
The Ledgers got on the board early in the first period when freshman defenseman Noah Pickart drove hard around the net and attempted a wrap-around goal. Sauer denied him, but the puck ended up in front of the net where Cade Tennessen gladly shoved it into the back of the net.
That would be all the scoring in the first as Sauer kept the rest of the shots out, and Ahern did the same at the other end of the ice.
At 3:07 in the second, Collin Holz got a pass from Cam Beek and put a wrist shot from the right side face off dot over Ahern's glove to tie the game for Waupun. Beek and Holz would reverse roles just over two minutes later with Beek scoring on a wrister from the slot to put the Warriors up 2-1.
Just past the midway point in the second Justin Schwartzmiller, Pickart, and Dawson Sarauer led the rush up the ice for Springs. Sarauer took a shot from the right circle that banked off the near post, then hit Sauer in the backside and bounced into the net to tie the game at two each.
That was it for scoring in regulation. After 51 minutes of play the score was knotted at 2 each, and the shots were even at 28 each. Overtime loomed, and the possibility of a shootout if nobody scored in the eight minute extra period.
At 3:39 in the overtime, Waupun was penalized for tripping. On the ensuing power play Schwartzmiller and Pickart worked the puck back and forth in the right corner until Pickart saw that Zach Welsch had gotten free in the slot. A perfect pass from Pickart, and a lightning quick one-timer from Welsch ended the game and gave the Ledgers the Conference Championship.