It was time to forget the past and take care of the present for the University School boys’ hockey team. On Saturday, January 12, 2019, the Wildcats traveled to the Blue Line Family Ice Center in Fond du Lac where St. Mary’s Springs defeated them in the Sectional final of the 2017-2018 season. The Wildcats erased the bitter taste left in their mouths by that loss as they convincingly defeated the Ledgers 6-2 in a non-conference game.
Blake Carey, one of USM’s captains, commented on Saturday’s game, “The boys battled tonight. This was a redemption game for us, and we faced adversity throughout the day, but the guys were able to respond. We found a way without playing our best hockey, and that’s a credit to everyone in that locker room. Some younger guys stepped up for us, and that made the difference. We will continue to work and get better and be playing our best hockey as we get further into this season. Overall it was a good win for us today and something we can learn from and build on.”
The Wildcats put 25 shots on the Ledgers’ goalies: Joey Koleno and Tyler Arnold. Arnold made 8 saves and gave up 2 goals, while Koleno stopped 11 shots while surrendering 4 goals. USM’s goaltender, Frank Fee made 10 saves and gave up 2 goals in the game.
Springs opened the afternoon’s scoring. On a power play, Zach Welsch skated the puck out of the Springs’ end. As he moved into USM territory, he dropped a pass to Dayne Deanovich. Deanovich passed the puck back to Welsch, who had proceeded below the goal line. Deanovich then skated toward the net from the sideboards, and Welsch passed it back to him. Deanovich backhanded the puck to Brady Welsch who had slipped into the slot unnoticed by the USM defenders who were watching the puck. Brady Welsch immediately fired a shot past Fee at 8:00 of the first period.
The Wildcats scored their first goal at 11:45 of the same period. As USM forechecked, the puck went to Jacob Como at the right point. He slapped a shot toward the net; it missed. However, the rebound off the backboards hopped out to Peter Ells in the lower right circle. Ells gunned an acute-angle shot into the net to tie the score at 1-1.
USM took the lead at 14:17. Forechecking, Noah Eghbali got the puck behind the Ledgers’ net. He sent it out front to Carson Mogush. The puck skipped off of Mogush’s stick and bounced out to the blue line. Defenseman Alex Thundercloud grabbed it then fired a low shot that hit a defender’s skate and slithered into the net.
The first of Ethan Ford’s two goals in the game proved to be the game winner. The play began when Blake Carey fired the puck off the glass in USM’s zone. Robby Newton dashed to it and headed down the left boards. Newton circled behind the Ledgers’ net then centered the puck to Ford who was locomoting down the slot. Ford fired a backhander and scored at 9:27 of the second period.
The Wildcats made the score 4-1 while on a power play less than two minutes later. At the Springs’ blue line Casey Roepke passed the puck over to Newton, his defensive partner on the power play. Newton fired a low shot at the net. Ethan Mann tipped it in at 11:12.
USM scored again in the opening minutes of the third period. As the Wildcats moved the puck around the Ledgers’ zone during a power play, Roepke passed the puck from the center point to Mogush on the right boards. Mogush passed it back. Roepke pulled the puck away from a defender and drilled a low shot into the net at 1:22.
Carey scored on a penalty shot while USM was short-handed to give the Wildcats a 6-1 lead at 7:14.
Springs scored again while on the same power play at 6:19. Cycling along the top of the left circle in the USM zone, Connor McLaughlin passed the puck to Jack Sabel at the far point. Sabel fired a pass into the slot to Deanovich who swiftly whipped a shot past Fee.
After the game, Jason Woods, USM’s head coach, commented on the win, “A good day for us. Even though it wasn’t our most even performance of the year, we did enough to get the win. We have had an incredibly tough run with seven games in fifteen days and one home game in the last forty-nine days, yet we have been up to the task in all of them. I admire the fight of these young men; every day they accept the challenge and compete. I expect them to do it again with another road challenge against Waukesha on Tuesday.”
St. Mary’s Springs is now 9-6-1 overall and 4-1 in the Badgerland Conference. The Ledgers face another top ten team when they faceoff with Green Bay Notre Dame at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, January 18th in the opening round of the Wausau West Tournament at the Marathon Ice Arena in Wausau.
USM is 16-1 and 3-0 in the Classic Eight Conference. The Wildcats play Waukesha in a Classic Eight Conference game at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, January 15th at the Nagawaukee Ice Arena in Delafield.