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Waupun tops the Highlanders

By Jeff Sauer, Waupun , 02/19/18, 10:15PM CST


Home team beats Homestead, 6-1

Waupun played host to the Homestead Highlanders on Thursday at the Waupun Community Center and the Warriors were not very hospitable as Waupun beat Homestead 6 - 1.  The Warriors were out to prove three things on this evening.  One the Warriors with an 18 - 5 - 1 and Regular Season Badgerland champs were undervalued at the seeding meeting. Two.  The Warriors have a strong defense.  And three, the Waupun Community Center is a hard place for visiting teams.  Mission accomplished on all three goals.

Coach Jason Buchholz for Waupun wasn’t exactly sure what the outcome would with Homestead (17 - 7).  The Highlanders had 3 forwards in the top 10 for most points earned on the season.  “I was really nervous coming into this game with how many goals Homestead has put up through the year,” Buchholz said. “  But tonight our guys, defensively, played tight.  “Some of our defensemen really stepped up and played well like Cole Kamphuis, and we gave Carter Flegner a pretty tough task to take on their top players,” Jason Buchholz added. “Carter played admirably out there.  He has been rock solid for us since the first of year and showed it again”.

The Warriors struck first.  With 3:13 in the first period off the clock, Baron Buchholz picked up a puck in the neutral zone, turned on the jets and skated into the Highlanders zone.  At the same time Jarrett Buchholz quickly busted to the net setting up right in front of Homestead goalie, Ty Barnhill.  Baron was able to see Jarrett sitting near the net and slide a hard pass on the ice for Jarrett to easily tip the puck over the shoulder of Barnhill.  The Warriors provided the Hilltoppers 2 chances to score on the Powerplay in 1st period.  The penalty kill unit did its job very well and continued its 92% penalty kill rate.  The period ended with Waupun leading 1 - 0.  

Most days, this would be good enough for Waupun’s defense with Caleb Sauer in net.  Sauer was ranked number 6 in the State for Goals Against with 1.45 goals per game and ranked 3 in save percentage at .947.  Buchholz shared “I have great confidence Caleb will run the defense from his net and as a unit hold teams from scoring several goals.  This is a very proud group of boys with Carson Schramm, Flegner, Cole Kamphuis, Griffin Levey, and Dylan Sauer."

WiPH Game Summaries

As far as the assist goes, “He played the puck very well tonight,” Jason Buchholz said of Sauer. “He got the one assist, which was I believe the second goal of the game where he read that their team was getting a change, he pulled it and played it all the way to the other side of the ice for our guys to get a 2-on-0.  It was a very mature and smart play."

Tonight however wasn’t about the defense.  The offense for the Warriors was running on all cylinders.  In the second period, the Warriors added its second goal almost immediately at the start of the period.  Homestead dumped the puck into the Warriors end.and went to make a wholesale change of players.  Waupun;s netminder Sauer saw the change taking place and decided to play the puck instead of letting icing occur.  It paid off.  Sauer made a long stretch pass from his goal line, through the neutral zone hitting Colin Holz who was waiting at the Blue line.  At the same time, Cameron Beek was skating the neutral zone.  There wasn’t a Highlander in sight as Holz took the pass and headed right for the net with his partner Beek to his left.  Holz made the pass to Beek near the hash marks.  Beek made a beautiful deke move flipping the puck over the shoulder of Barnhill.  2 - 0 lead for the Warriors.  

This second goal turned the tide of the game.  The offense was confident the defense would do their job allowing the Warriors offense to open up and attack.  Jarrett Buchholz took advantage.  Buchholz was given a little space to take the puck in the neutral zone.  Buchholz continued his attack into the Highlanders zone.  He dangled a few times around the defensemen until he found  himself almost on top of Barnhill.  With a quick flick of the wrist the biscuit was in the back of the net.  Just what was needed for the Warriors.

The game remained 3 - 0 for the rest of the period.

The Warriors offense was not finished for the tonight.  2:00 into the 3rd period, Holz pulled the puck out of a scrum of players in the neutral zone.  He took the puck and skated right around the defensemen in the neutral zone. Holz placed a snipe shot in the corner of the net. putting the breakaway puck past Barnhill.  4 - 0 Warriors.

Homestead still did not give up.  Everyone was aware of last year’s 3rd period collapse by the Warriors who had a 4-0 lead against another team.  The Highlanders had 3 forwards in the top 10 for points. Upon the next face off, Homestead took control of the puck and pressed hard towards the Warrior goal.  For nearly 3:00 minutes the Highlanders kept the puck in the Waupun zone. At 9:19 left in the 3rd period, Homestead removed the shutout.  Pierce Stastney tried a wrap around on Sauer and was denied.  The puck squirted below the goal line behind the net.  PJ Quale was in a perfect position to take the puck and pass it back to Stastney who was parked at the top of the crease.  Stastney was able to one time the puck over the shoulder of Sauer to put the first point on the board for Homestead.

“When they put that goal in, we kind of got nervous,” Beek said. “We weren’t playing our best hockey like we were in the first couple of periods. Then we realized we really got to get going. We don’t want it to happen like two years ago where we came back and beat them in the playoffs.”

And that is exactly what the Warriors did.  Beek and Holz once again took control of the puck.  With 7:00 minutes left in the game, Holz picked up the loose puck he created in the neutral zone with a stick check.  With quick acceleration, Holz took the puck toward the Highlanders zone.  What seemed to be from nowhere, Beek jumped into the play to create the 2 on 1.  Once again, Holz gave up the puck like a solid teammate.  Perfect pass to Beek turned into a fantastic cut across the crease and a chip shot into the net.  Warriors were up 5-1 and the monkey was off their back.  A goal celebration also was a relief.  The Warriors confidence in another home victory was imminent.

The Warriors continued to battle in this contest.  There was no let up as the Warriors took the opportunity to prepare for the next round of the playoffs.  After the 5th goal, Homestead continued to battle putting a lot of shots on Sauer to climb back into the game.  There was no quit in the talented Senior laiden Highlanders.   With a little more than 5 minutes left in the game, another opportunity popped for the Warriors. Waupun gained control of the puck in that was dumped in the Highlanders defensive zone.  Jarrett Buchholz went in with a hard forecheck starting a cycle in the corner with Malachi Buchholz and Dylan Sauer.  Sauer vacated the zone to make a change.  Both Buchholz’s held the puck in when Malachi tried to take a shot.  The puck went to Jarrett who saw Cole Kamphuis entering the zone from the change with Sauer.  Kamphuis was all alone in the mid slot and hammered a slap shot into the back of the net for the 6th and final goal of the game.  The final home game for the 9 Seniors of the Waupun Warriors ended in a 6 - 1 Regional Final victory.  Sauer ended the game with 34 saves while Barnhill ended with 31.

So far on the season, the Warriors had an incredible home record going 11 - 1 - 1 with the 1 loss coming to Marquette in overtime of the Holiday Classic and the tie coming to Neenah.  The 45 year old facility known as the Waupun Community Center has been incredible advantage for the Warriors.

The Warriors will next travel to the private University School of Milwaukee.  USM beat the Warriors fairly easily early in the season 7 - 3.  USM has been ranked in the top 3 programs in the state all year which makes this next round a really tough draw for Tuesday at the Uhlien Ice Arena on the campus of the private University School of Milwaukee.

* quotes provided by Mark McMullen