In a back and forth game, Tyler Herzberg gave the University School of Milwaukee Wildcats their first lead with 1:45 to play and sealed the victory with an empty netter to defeat the Wausau West Warriors 5-3 on a snowy Saturday afternoon at Marathon Park.
The puck and the Wildcats spent most of the first period in the West end of the ice, but the defense-minded Warriors limited USM to five shots on goal. Blocking shots, clearing rebounds, and clogging the shooting lanes kept West goalie Nick Hahner clean for the first 17 minutes.
The best scoring opportunity in the first came on a short-handed pass that freed West’s Cade Lemmer for a break-away chance. USM goalie Frank Fee was patient as Lemmer tried to deke to his backhand. Fee extended his leg pad to stuff the attempt and keep the game scoreless. Fee recorded 10 saves in the first period.
Ty Bailey opened up the scoring three minutes into the second period when a shot from Carson Marquardt at the point went wide of the net and bounced off the boards behind the goal right to Bailey who was parked on the back door.
Tyler Herzberg tied it up for USM two minutes later when a shot that was blocked by a West defenseman bounced to Herzberg in the slot. His quick wrist shot beat Hahner on the glove side.
West would regain the lead when Cade Lemmer redirected a point shot from Jacob Cebula.
That lead would last until 5:22 to go in the second when a mad scramble in front of the net drew Hahner out of the net. The puck was shot wide and eventually passed from behind out to Herzberg on the left side, where he was able to deposit it into the empty net.
It looked like the second period would end at a 2-2 tie, but Austin Federici threw the puck at the net through heavy traffic in front of the net. Fee never saw the puck, and West went up 3-2 with 2.1 seconds on the clock.
University School scored three times in the final 3:21 to take the lead and the game. It started on the power play. Robby Newton got the puck in the low slot and roofed a shot over Hahner to tie the game at 3-3. At 1:45 Herzberg took a cross-ice pass at the left faceoff dot and scored before Hahner could get across. Herzberg wrapped it up with an empty net goal with .7 seconds left on the clock.