The Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha Rockets scored three times in the first period, and goalie Jake Mork made sure that was enough to eliminate the defending champion Hudson Raiders in Thursday’s last quarter-final game. The Rockets added an empty net goal with 20 seconds left to seal the deal with a 4-1 win.
Luke Elkin passed to a wide open Eric Alberts who fired a wrist shot from the right hash marks over Hudson goalie AJ Cohen’s glove hand to open the scoring at 4:14 in the first.
Hudson came right back less than a minute later. Harvey Dove fired a shot that Mork got a glove on but didn’t catch, and the puck trickled into the net.
Neenah came back with a power play at 10:28 when Dillon Fox stole the puck just inside the Hudson blue line. Fox worked his way between and around defenders into the low slot and fired in the go-ahead goal.
Fox contributed again for the Rockets four minutes later, when he fired a shot from the left face off circle. Cohen stopped the shot but the rebound went right to Mason Marquardt who cashed it in.
Cohen stopped 8 of the 11 shots he faced in the first, while Mork stopped 7 of 8.
The intensity picked up in the second period, although there was no scoring, just a bunch of penalties, highlighted by a pair of matching five minute majors on Hudson’s Kolton Prater for slashing the opposing goalie, and Neenah’s Mason Marquadt for letting Prater know that he shouldn’t be slashing the goalie.
Hudson out-shot NHM 11 to 6 in the second period.
According to the official shot count, Mork made 4 saves in the third period, and Cohen stopped just 1. The only goal was Elkin's empty netter.