It was a fitting end for a fabulous season. The University School boys’ hockey team concluded regular play by defeating Hudson 4-0 in a non-conference game on Saturday, February 9th at USM. The Wildcats finished with a 22-2 record. Hudson’s record is now 13-9-1.
It was a good tune-up for the upcoming state tournament for both of these storied hockey programs, who have succeeded in the tournament in the past and look for renewed success in 2019.
The fans who packed the stands Saturday enjoyed a great game of hockey between two of the state’s top teams.
They saw USM’s goaltender Patrick Kelly make 28 saves to record the shutout. They also witnessed Blake Carey score two goals and Robby Newton and Sterling Cooke score one apiece against the Raiders’ goalie, A.J. Cohen who had 35 saves in the contest.
Ethan Ford, one of USM’s captains commented on the win, “The boys matched up against a great team who executed their systems well. It was great competition and a good win over a high-level team. Patrick in the net had a great night taking a lot of shots and holding the shutout. It was a good game; the boys wanted to play Hudson and we finally got to.”
The action went back and forth all afternoon. In the first period each team took 10 shots and it wasn’t until they had a power play late in the period that the Wildcats made a shot count on the scoreboard.
The Wildcats got the puck into the Hudson zone and passed it around, waiting for a good scoring attempt. They got it when Tyler Herzberg passed the puck from left corner to Casey Roepke at the point. Roepke passed it to Newton in the right circle, and Newton blazed a shot through a screen of Cohen’s eyes that Carey created. Time of the goal: 13:06.
Carey scored his first goal early in the second period. He took a pass from Reid Woods in the USM zone and skated away. Carey described what happened. “Reid gave me a great break out pass for me to pick up with speed. I saw I didn’t have much time, so my goal was to beat the defenseman wide and try to get the puck on net. I was able to get around him and a chance to shoot. I only had one spot to shoot at and I was able to put it in. I was just happy to put the boys up 2-0.” Carey scored his off angle shot through a small opening between Cohen’s shoulder and the goalpost at 6:05.
USM went ahead 3-0 at 9:26 of the same period. Entering the Hudson zone, TJ Fenton took a check from a Hudson defenseman. The puck careened away and Newton flew to get it. He sped down the right side. As he curled toward the net he saw Cooke racing toward the far post. Newton’s crossing pass was perfect, and Cooke touched the puck in the open back door.
Carey tallied the Wildcats’ fourth goal during a third-period power play at 3:11. He described the goal, “I got a great feed from Ethan Mann. I battled my way to the front, and he was able to make a pass that I could tip in the back of the net. It was a great play by him and all I had to do was finish it. I was happy to give the boys a boost on the scoreboard tonight, and that’s what really matters.”
After the game, USM’s head coach Jason Woods: said, “A great way to finish the regular season. Hudson is such a strong program and to be able to beat them as we head into the playoffs is a big help. 22-2, that’s a really healthy regular season. I continue to see a focus in the eyes of this group. That’s important for our chances. I look forward to seeing what the playoffs bring.”
The Wildcats begin state tournament play against the winner of Tuesday’s regional semi-final between Waupun and the Sheboygan South co-op. USM will host that winner in a regional final in Sectional 8 of the WIAA state tournament at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, February 15th at USM.