For the fifth time in the last seven years, DC Everest and Wausau West met in a Sectional 3 semifinal matchup. Each of the four previous contests went to the boys from the west side.
Not this time.
Ty Tretter knocked in a loose puck midway through the second extra period to give the #4 seed Evergreens a 3-2 victory in a hard-fought, back-and-forth battle at Marathon Park Tuesday evening.
The first period was scoreless, but the Warriors came out swinging, putting 13 pucks on net against DCE goalie Michael Janke. The senior netminder stopped all of them, as did Nick Hahner for West, whose tally for the period read five saves.
Just after the second period faceoff, DCE's Ben Peloquin fired a point-blank shot that Hahner stopped. The Warriors got possession and took off the other way. After Janke stopped a Warriors shot, Sam Techel grabbed the rebound and deposited the puck in the net, giving West a 1-0 lead just 45 seconds into the middle stanza. Cade Lemmer earned an assist on the play.
Midway through the period, a West penalty put Everest on the power play and they would not disappoint their side of the stands at a packed Marathon Park facility.
Less than a minute into the man advantage, Jacob Jakusz fired a shot from the top of the left circle that hit nothing but twine after flying through a forest of legs in front of the West netminder. Davis Hackbarth was credited with a helper on the play at the 9:55 mark of the period.
The period ended with the score tied at one. Janke stopped 10 shots for DCE, while Hahner had seven saves in the period.
In the third period, each team would score a power play goal, but West took advantage early in the period to grab the lead.
Less than a minute into the stanza, Lemmer grabbed a loose puck and flipped it past the DCE goalie to give West a 2-1 lead. John Prokop earned an assist on the play.
Then in the middle of the period, it was Everest's turn.
Playing 5-on-4, defenseman J.J. Berdal snuck down low and pounded in a rebound from the right side to tie the game at two apiece. Brendan Hoover got an assist on the play.
As the clock ticked down, West took a time-out with just over two minutes left. They were unable to score, but Berdal nearly won the game but his shot at the horn went off the side of the net.
Janke stopped seven shots in the period, with Hahner making six saves.
The teams took a three minute break and then resumed play, an eight minute affair.
Hahner made a nice glove save thirty seconds into the period and then a minute later, it appeared the game was over. Berdal fired a shot from the right point that got behind the West goalie and the DCE crowd went wild.
That is, until they saw the officials waiving off the goal. At least one Everest player had failed to tag up on a delayed offside and the goal was discounted. After a brief discussion, play resumed.
The last five minutes of the period was the Michael Janke Show. He had at least five clutch saves in 300 seconds, including a stop of a Marc Sippel breakaway with a minute left.
Janke stopped all nine shots in the period, while Hahner had five saves.
After a resurfacing of the ice, 17:00 went up on the clock for the fifth period of the contest.
West had a couple chances early, but a Sam Techel shot clanked off the crossbar and a Sippel rebound went wide left with just over ten minutes left.
Less than a minute later, Tretter took a cross-ice pass on the back doorstep from Hackbarth in the left corner and chipped the puck into the net for the game-winner as the DCE crowd went absolutely bonkers. Hackbarth got his second assist of the game on the GWG at the 7:33 mark.
Janke had seven saves in the period, finishing with 46 saves on the evening. Hahner stopped two shots, giving him a game total of 25.
Everest (18-6-2) will take on the winner of tomorrow night's SPASH-Northland Pines game in Saturday's sectional final at Greenheck Fieldhouse.
West ended the season with a mark of 17-7-2.