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Oh, Mann! Ethan scores last-minute OT game-winner for USM

12/05/2018, 8:15pm CST
By Tom Geilfuss, USM Assistant Coach

Wildcats take narrow 3-2 win against rival Arrowhead

Ethan Mann’s goal in the last minute of overtime gave the University School boys’ hockey team a come from behind 3-2 victory over Arrowhead in a Classic Eight Conference game on Tuesday, December 4th at the Mullett Center on the campus of Arrowhead High School in Hartland.

Blake Carey, one of USM’s captains, commented on the game, “We battled, period. We didn’t have our best tonight, but we fought through and pulled out a big win for us. Credit our guys for keeping calm and bearing down for the win. Overall, it was a good test for us and showed what we are capable of.”

As Carey indicated, it was another tense battle in the continuing rivalry between these two southeastern Wisconsin powers.  Both teams entered the game without a loss marring their records.

Mann’s goal changed that, but until those last seconds, it was anybody’s game.

During the contest, USM out shot Arrowhead 50-16.  Austin Bartell was strong in the home team’s net, making 47 saves.  USM’s goaltender Patrick Kelly stopped 14 of the 16 shots the Warhawks took on net.

The first period was scoreless.  Carey opened the scoring for the Wildcats with a shorthanded goal midway through the second period.  Tyler Herzberg knocked an Arrowhead puck carrier’s stick along the boards in center ice.  The puck squirted to Carey who took off on a breakaway.  As he moved in on Bartell, he saw an opening inside the post on the goalie’s right side.  Carey bulls-eyed his shot to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead at 10:40.

Arrowhead tied the score at 14:16 of the period.  Off a face off in USM’s right corner, the puck went to the point to Zach Wolverton.  He passed it to Dillon Dale along the right boards.  Dale took a shot and followed it toward the net.  The puck made it through a screen then the rebound off Kelly’s pads bounced back to Dale. He took a step closer and fired the puck in.

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The Warhawks went ahead on a power play goal in the first minute of the third period.  Starting a breakout play, Nick Vondrak dropped the puck to Connor Kruk behind the Arrowhead net.  Kruk sent a pass to Wolverton who was exiting the zone along the right boards.  Wolverton skated all the way into the USM end.  As he neared the bottom goal line, he fired an off angle shot at the net.  The puck went past Kelly for the go-ahead goal at 0:31.

The Wildcats tied the score late in the regulation time.  Taking a face off in the right corner of the Warhawks’ zone, Mann drew the puck back to the point to Alex Thundercloud.  Thundercloud moved to the middle of the blue line, then passed the puck back to the right mid-boards to Tyler Herzberg. As a defenseman came out to play him, Herzberg used the opponent as a screen and laced a shot at the net.  Bartell didn’t see it. The score was tied again, and the game headed to overtime.

As the clock ticked off the last seconds of the eight-minute extra period, Robby Newton got the puck on the left side of the Arrowhead zone.  He circled out along the blue line, then passed the puck to Ethan Ford in the right circle.  Ford spotted Mann in the far circle and crossed a pass right to him. Before Bartell could move across, Mann one-timed a wrist shot into the net at 7:10 to preserve the Wildcats’ undefeated streak.

About his game-winner, Mann said, “Ethan Ford gave me a perfect cross ice pass right on my tape, and I just finished it off backdoor. It felt great. It had been a real grind-it-out game, and our team has been on a roll; we needed that one. But I know if I didn’t get it we had a lot of momentum, so some teammate would’ve.”

USM’s head coach, Jason Woods said, “Tough one for us tonight, but we gutted it out and found a way. We were not as sharp as we had been previously, and you can credit Arrowhead for some of that for sure, but end of the day, we found a way.  We are going to need to rest up to be ready to go again Friday night. We are in an incredibly tough stretch against historically tough programs with outstanding coaching, and it will be all we can do to fight through it.”

The loss gave Arrowhead a record of 2-1-2 and 0-1 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Warhawks play Marquette in a Classic Eight Conference game at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 6th at Eble Park Ice Arena in Brookfield.

USM is 6-0 and 1-0 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats play Green Bay Notre Dame Academy in a non-conference game at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, December 7th at the Cornerstone Ice Arena in Green Bay.

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