The University School boys’ hockey team concluded its Classic Eight Conference season with a convincing 6-2 defeat of Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc on Friday, February 2nd at Nagawaukee Ice Arena in Delafield.
Jason Woods, USM’s head coach, commented on the victory, “Just a really nice win against a very solid Kettle Moraine team. Coming off last night’s tough game against Marquette, and the big-time injuries we had in that game, I was worried. Kettle Moraine was up to the challenge, showing they are very strong, and gave us all we could handle. Lucky for us, we played a clean and solid third period to get out of there with the win. It was an impressive win and a great show of character by our guys. They continue to impress.”
The Wildcats never trailed in the game, but it was close, especially in the early going. KMMO outshot the Wildcats 33-27 in the contest, but the Wildcats were able to put six of their shots past KMMO’s goalie, Joseph Greilich. Tyler Herzberg scored 2 goals for USM. Andrew Malek, Alex Thundercloud, Carson Mogush, and Christian Blomquist each score 1 goal. Frank Fee made 25 saves in net for USM, allowing goals on shots by Peyton Hart and Trevor Schneller.
The Wildcats scored the game’s first goal early in the first period. Malek tipped in a point shot by Thundercloud at 3:23.
USM made it 2-0 a few minutes later. As the Wildcats broke out of their zone, Reid Woods backhanded the puck over the blue line. It hit a KMMO player’s skate and bounced to Herzberg. He took off like a jet and went in on a one-on-two. In the KMMO zone, he deftly pushed the puck past the defensemen, darted around, picked up the puck, then buried a shot at 5:13.
KMMO made the score closer at 12:28. From a scrum along the boards in the KMMO zone, the puck bounced to the slot to KMMO’s Justin Rauser. Rauser quickly passed it to Hart who was exiting the zone. Hart skated into the USM end and blazed a shot past Fee to make the score 2-1. Lukas Lundgren also had an assist on the play.
Thundercloud scored what would be the eventual game winner early in the third period while USM was shorthanded. Off a faceoff in the USM end, he got a loose puck and skated away. As he crossed into the KMMO zone, he wound up and fired a slap shot past Greilich at 0:48.
KMMO kept it close with a goal at 9:36 of the second period. As KMMO forechecked, Ben Morse collected the puck along the right boards, skated into the low circle and fired a shot. The rebound came out to Schneller in the slot, and he whipped the puck past Fee to make it 3-2.
With just a one-goal difference, it was anybody’s game as the two teams contended for the remainder of the second period.
USM finally scored a needed insurance goal at 5:22 of the third period. As the Wildcats forechecked, Kylar Fenton fired a shot from the left point. The rebound came out to Blomquist near the post. He immediately backhanded a pass to Mogush who was stationed in the slot like he was waiting for the next train. Mogush whipped the puck into the net.
The Wildcats made it 5-2 on a power play a couple of minutes later. In the KMMO zone, Fenton stopped a clearing attempt at the left point. He moved in, then crossed a pass to Herzberg at the top of the right circle. Herzberg lasered a shot into the net at 7:49.
Blomquist put the game out of KMMO’s reach with an unassisted goal at 12:44 of the third period.
After the game, Fenton, who is USM’s captain, said, “It was an important conference game that really showed our character and ability to play two important games back to back. Some young players stepped up and helped us achieve the victory.”
KMMO is now 14-8. The team hosts Madison West in a non-conference game at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, February 6th at Nagawaukee.
USM is 19-3 and finished at 7-1 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats play Onalaska in a non-conference game at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, February 9th at the Omni Center in Onalaska.