In the long-standing rivalry between the University School and Madison Edgewood boys’ hockey teams, the scores have often been close. That was not the case on Tuesday, January 8th when the two teams met at the Labahn Ice Arena in Madison for their annual non-conference clash. The Wildcats outshot the Crusaders, 38-8 and outscored them, 9-1.
“Just a great performance by the guys tonight,” said Jason Woods, USM’s coach. “We showed an outstanding spark from the first drop of the puck and never let up. Our ability to get great play throughout the lineup is starting to pay off. Our young guys are maturing, taking our team to the next level, and our older guys are leading by example. We have no one focused on ‘getting his own’ this year. Rather, we are focused on the team, which is a recipe for success.”
The Wildcats followed the recipe closely and cooked up a 2-0 lead in the first period. They began grilling early. From center ice, defenseman Casey Roepke passed the puck to Ethan Mann along the right boards just inside the Edgewood end. Roepke sped into the slot, and Mann centered it to him. Roepke fired wide, but Mann went after the puck in the right corner and passed it back out front to Sterling Cooke. Cooke shoved it past Zach Walker, Edgewood’s goalie, just 4:46 into the game.
USM added another goal a few minutes later while on a power play. The Wildcats moved the puck around the Edgewood zone. It went to Tyler Herzberg along the left boards. He whipped it down behind the net to Mann who immediately passed it out front to Blake Carey. Carey batted it into the net at 7:32.
The Wildcats baked up another goal early in the second period. Taking a faceoff in the Crusaders’ right circle, Mann won the draw forward. He chased the puck down in the near corner and circled the net like he was drizzling frosting around a cake. He passed the puck to Cooke who was out front. Cooke caught it and crammed it under Walker at 3:15.
USM made it 4-0 at 8:12 of the middle period. On a regroup, in the USM defensive zone, Jacob Como passed the puck to his defensive partner, Roepke. Roepke forwarded the puck to Herzberg along the left boards in center ice. Herzberg steamed away. He rushed past a defenseman in the Edgewood end, then deked Walker and the tucked the puck in.
Just seconds later, the Wildcats spiced up the score. Skating into the Crusaders’ zone, Peter Ells knocked the puck behind the net. He raced to it, circled the net, and dished it out front to Carson Mogush. Mogush fired, but his shot hit the leg of a defenseman. Roepke speared it and backhanded a shot past Walker at 8:35.
The Crusaders were deep in the frying pan, but they eased the USM heat a bit with their lone goal late in the second period. Along the sideboards in the USM end, Thomas Weis and Hunter Stracka executed a tasty give-and-go. Weis skated with the puck into the right circle and gunned a shot past Frank Fee, USM’s goaltender, at 15:28.
USM kept the heat on broil in the third period. The Wildcats scored two goals in the first two minutes of the period.
Peter Ells took the puck away from an Edgewood player in the USM end and chipped it into center ice. Roepke burned after it, sped past a defenseman and finished the play by serving a shot that zipped past Walker at 1:13.
The Wildcats set the game timer to running time with their seventh goal just seconds later. As they put the forechecking pressure cooker on boil, Mogush knocked the puck from behind the Edgewood net to Ells near the crease. Ells popped it into the net at 1:55.
The Wildcats still had time for dessert and scored two added goals. Herzberg completed a hat trick by scoring both. He scored one at 3:18 off a pass from Robby Newton. He tallied the next one at 7:17 on a pass from Carey to complete the satisfying meal.
Ethan Ford, one of USM’s captains, commented on the victory: “The boys were really cooking tonight. We moved the puck well and pressured them in zone. Especially from guys who don’t get to see the ice as much, we were completely outworking the opponent. Today was a great day from top to bottom on the roster. The positivity on the bench played a big part to our success. It was solid all around.”
USM is 15-1 and 3-0 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats play St. Mary’s Springs in a non-conference game at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 12th at the Blue Line Family Ice Center in Fond du Lac.