Green Bay Notre Dame does it againSuperior boys fall in state hockey quarterfinals, 5-1
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
MADISON — The third time wasn’t a charm for the Superior High School boys hockey team as the Spartans lost to the Green Bay Notre Dame Academy Tritons 5-1 Thursday night in the quarterfinals of the WIAA State Hockey Tournament at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in the Alliant Energy Center.
The Spartans, who also lost to the Tritons twice during the regular season, finish the year with a 15-10-1 record.
Notre Dame takes a 22-3 record into Friday’s semifinal game against the winner of Thursday night’s game between Verona and Sparta.
The Spartans had their chances. They outshot the Tritons 34-26, but were 0-for-5 on the power play.
“The kids played hard,” SHS coach Jason Kalin said. “I can’t take anything away from Norte Dame; they’re a very good team. They were 100 percent on the power play, and we couldn’t find the back of the net. It wasn’t like it was all Notre Dame, though. I thought we controlled the game early on. But they’re dangerous and have a lot of guys that score goals.”
Superior outshot Notre Dame 12-5 in the first period thanks in part to three power-play chances. Unfortunately the Spartans couldn’t cash in on their extra-man opportunities, and the game remained scoreless at the first intermission.
Each team’s best scoring chances in the first period came within seconds of each other on Superior’s first power play. After Notre Dame hit the left post, Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate took a long pass and snuck between the Triton defense, but his back-handed attempt went just wide.
After Superior failed to score on the remainder of its third power-play at the start of the second period, Notre Dame took a 2-0 lead with goals less than two minutes apart.
Jason Reynolds poked home a rebound from five feet out in the slot after a Crawford save at 5:21, then at 7:19 Jarod Zirbel one-timed a rebound into an open net after Crawford made a save on shots by Riley Christensen and Reynolds.
“On both of those goals we weren’t in position,” Kalin said. “Scotty made the first save, but we weren’t there to help him out.”
Superior cut the lead in half at 11:59 of the second period when the puck came out of the corner to Daniel Litchke, who skated in and back-handed the puck between the left post and the right pad of Triton goaltender Chris Nell. No assists were awarded, but Aaron Miller and Trent Olson were there to get the puck away from a Triton player.
“We got put back on our heels a bit early on taking some penalties we shouldn’t have, but we regrouped nicely and had a pretty good second period,” Notre Dame coach Cory McCracken said. “I liked our effort, I like our intensity and we stuck to the game plan and we played a nice game.”
Notre Dame took a 4-1 lead early in the third period with goals 33 seconds apart.
Tony Stillwell scored on a power play at 2:07 and Brett Gruber scored his team-leading 32nd goal at 2:40.
Stillwell’s goal was originally not allowed, but it didn’t matter as seven seconds later Tim Davison scored on a slap shot from the right circle. After a referee meeting, they counted Stillwell’s goal and put seven seconds back on the clock.
“It hit the inside pad, came right out and the green light came on for a goal,” McCracken said. “After they waved it off we scored anyway. But then they came back to the bench and clarified that it was actually a goal.”
Stillwell also scored Notre Dame’s final goal on a power play with 1:46 remaining.
“We’re looking forward to Friday night,” McCracken said. “We know Verona’s going to be a good challenge and we’re going to take a good look at Sparta tonight.”
Scott Crawford finished with 20 saves for Superior and Nell had 33 for Notre Dame.
The Spartans will say goodbye to 12 seniors: Aaron Johnson, Brady Uotinen, Nolan Holcombe, Steven, Gerald and Richard Mikel, Caleb Dushkin, Blake Johnson, Brett Bukowski, Luke Darwin, Jack Bergum and Crawford.
“When you have this many boys leaving, it’s going to be tough,” Kalin said. “They’re a great group of kids and I’m going to miss them very much. We just ran into a great hockey team, but we’re a great hockey team, also.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Superior was represented by four fan buses, which included the band, cheerleaders and dance line. … In other action Thursday, Brookfield defeated Eau Claire Memorial 3-2 in overtime and Wausau West defeated Marquette University 4-1. ECM led its game 2-0, and Wausau West is coached by former Superiorite Pete Susens. … West is the defending state champion. … In girls state tournament action today, Hayward-Spooner plays D.C. Everest Co-op at noon. … Tim Davison is a Wisconsin Badger recruit.
Notre Dame 0 2 3 — 5
Superior 0 1 0 — 1
First Period: No scoring.
Penalties: Colton Reince, ND (hooking), 2:03. Tim Davison, ND (slashing), 4:24. Luke Davison, ND (high sticking), 16:29.
Second Period: 1. ND, Jason Reynolds 20 (Luke Davison 6, Grant Kluesner 13), 5:21. 2. ND, Jarod Zirbel 12 (Riley Christensen 19, Reynolds 20), 7:19. 3. SHS, Daniel Litchke 29, 11:59.
Penalties: Miko Filon, ND (tripping), 7:36. Aaron Johnson, SHS (cross checking), 14:30.
Third Period: 4. ND, Tony Stillwell 32 (Tim Davison 36), 2:07 (pp). 5. ND, Brett Gruber 32 (Tim Davison 37, Luke Davison 7), 2:40. 6. ND, Stillwell 6, 15:14.
Penalties: A. Johnson, SHS (slashing), 1:58. Tim Davison, ND (head contact), 9:47. Brett Bukowski, SHS (cross checking), 14:44.
Saves: Chris Nell, GBND 12-10-11—33. Scott Crawford, SHS 5-9-6—20.