UPDATED: Spartans come up short in state tournament bid
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
NEW RICHMOND — The Superior High School boys hockey team had its string of nine straight state tournament appearances snapped with a 4-3 loss to the New Richmond Tigers Saturday afternoon at the New Richmond Sports Center.
Superior took a 3-2 lead on Caleb Dushkin’s goal 3:37 into the second period, but New Richmond erased the one-goal deficit with goals from Josh Leavens and Parker Olson. A scoreless third period completed the Tigers’ upset of the Spartans and gave them a berth in the WIAA State Hockey Tournament, which begins Thursday in Madison.
New Richmond will play Wausau West in a state quarterfinal game at 8 p.m. Thursday. The Warriors advanced with a 9-2 win over Mosinee.
Scott Crawford finished with 24 saves for Superior and Patrick Hailey had 31 for New Richmond.
“It feels great, it’s a dream come true,” Hailey said. “Olson’s goal really ignited it and excited everyone. Then we came out in the third and shut them down. It was our game to win.”
Each team scored twice in the first period, starting with Michael Bodsberg putting home a centering pass from Austin Zywiec at 6:29.
Superior took a 2-1 lead when Dave Dalbec’s shot from the right point was deflected over Hailey on a power play at 10:21 and Daniel Litchke got behind the Tiger defense and lifted the puck into the top right corner at 13:54.
New Richmond tied it up with 53.8 seconds left in the first period as Max Skatrud scored on a rebound after shots by Olson and Tyler Montgomery.
Superior took a 3-2 lead early in the second period as Brady Uotinen broke up the left boards and fed Dushkin in the slot.
Leavens put a wrist shot past a screened Crawford at 10:04 of the second period and a Spartan turnover at the blue line led to Olson’s game-winner with 1:16 left on the clock. The goal came during a delayed penalty on Superior, and after Crawford had already stopped shots by Nate Jones and Max Skatrud.
“That was a tough goal to give up,” SHS coach Jason Kalin said. “We had the momentum the whole way then they turn around and got one shot and scored. It wasn’t Scotty’s fault, it wasn’t any one person’s fault. We just didn’t clean up the trash.”
Superior outshot New Richmond 9-7 in a scoreless third period. A number of the Spartans’ shots came after they pulled Crawford with 1:22 remaining.
“Any loss is tough, but there’s not a whole lot we could have done different,” Kalin said. “We pretty much controlled the play, except they got a couple of turnovers at the blue line and we got caught going one direction and they were going the other. We also didn’t clean up in front of our net, they had a few rebounds and buried them.”
The Spartans (14-12-1) lose six seniors from this year’s team, Zach Magdzas, Dalbec, Taylor Olson, Joel Broberg, Sam Reiswig and Eric Quam.
“We had a good group of leaders and everybody contributed,” Kalin said. “It’s sad to see the seniors go, it would have been nice to get them to the state tournament, but you can’t always make it to state, and that’s a lesson I have to learn, too.
“We’re disappointed, but I told the kids they’re probably going to learn more from this loss than from a lot of the victories. This should make the younger kids a lot stronger. It might take them some time to get over this, but we’re going to come back and work harder for it in the offseason and get back to state next year.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior leads in state tournament appearances with 33 and in most state championships won with 12. Madison Memorial, which has been to state 29 times, has won eight state titles, and Madison East has won four. … Superior is the only program to win three consecutive state titles (1994-96) and Superior and Madison Memorial are the only programs to win back-to-back titles. The Spartans have done it twice including its string of three championships and in 1981-82. Madison Memorial has accomplished the feat twice (1976-77, 1979-80). … New Richmond (21-5) returns to state for the first time since 2003 and for the fourth time overall. The Tigers lost in the 2003 championship game.
Superior 2 1 0 — 3
New Richmond 2 2 0 — 4
First Period: Michael Bodsberg (Austin Zywiec), 6:29. 2. SHS, Dave Dalbec 4 (Daniel Litchke 18), 10:21 (pp). 3. SHS Litchke 22 (Nolan Holcombe 17), 13:54. 4. NR, Max Skatrud (Parker Olson, Tyler Montgomery), 16:07 (pp).
Second Period: 5. SHS Caleb Dushkin 14 (Brady Uotinen 16), 3:37. 6. NR, Josh Leavens (Montgomery), 10:04. 7. NR, Olson (Nate Jones, Skatrud), 16:44.
Third Period: No scoring.
Saves: Scott Crawford, SHS 7-10-7—24. Patrick Hailey, NR 8-14-9—31.