Spartans win state tournament openerThe Superior High School boys hockey team defeated the Fond du Lac Cardinals 6-3 in a WIAA State Tournament quarterfinal game Thursday night at the Alliant Energy Center.
MADISON — The Superior High School boys hockey team defeated the Fond du Lac Cardinals 6-3 in a WIAA State Tournament quarterfinal game Thursday night at the Alliant Energy Center.
The Spartans (19-7-1) advance to play Eau Claire Memorial (21-6-1) in the second semifinal game at 8 p.m. Friday. The Old Abes advanced with a 2-1 win over Whitefish Bay. Superor and ECM met twice this season with each team winning a game.
Playing in the first semifinal game at 6 p.m. will be No. 1 Green Bay Notre Dame (25-1-1) and Verona (26-2).
Aaron Miller had a big game for the Spartans Thursday with a goal and four assists.
Tyler Nystrom added two goals and Anthony Bronson and Beau Reder had a goal apiece.
Miller, a junior, now has 35 goals and 38 assists for 73 points, which moves him into a tie with Casey VanDamme for the No. 2 on Superior’s single-season scoring list. Marty Wiitala is No. 1 on the list with 40 goals and 43 assists for 83 points during the 1981-82 season.
Michael Wilson scored all three goals for the Cardinals, whose season ends at 22-4-2.
Paxton Paine picked up the win in goal for superior with nine saves, including just one in the third period. Charlie Blagoue was much busier for Fond du Lac with 25 saves.
The Spartans took a 1-0 lead 6:06 into the game when Nystrom skated out from behind the net and beat Blagoue with a shot from the left goal line.
Miller picked up his 100th career point with an assist on Nystrom’s 23rd goal of the season.
Miller then made it 2-0 just 36 seconds later when he poked an offensive face-off around the Cardinal center and beat Blagoue for his team-leading 35th goal of the season.
Fond du Lac made it a 2-1 game on Wilson’s power-play goal with 1:10 left in the opening period. Kyle Dunn passed the puck to Wilson, who deflected the puck toward Paine, then poked home his own rebound.
The Cardinals tied the game 2-2 at 6:03 of the second period when Wilson split the Spartan defense and put a shot on net. Paine made the initial stop, but the puck rolled over him for Wilson’s 34th goal of the year.
The Spartans’ penalty kill then came up big and killed off back-to-back penalties, which included a Mitch Anderson interference call and too many men on the ice.
Superior then took a 3-2 lead on Wakefield-Zubiate’s power-play goal with 24 seconds left in the second period.
Jesse Polson started the play with a shot from the left point. Miller deflected the shot, which was stopped by Blagoue, but the rebound went to Wakefield-Zubiate, who had an open net to shoot at from the right side.
Fond du Lac tied it up again, 3-3, when Wilson completed his hat trick with a short-handed goal 3:29 into the third period.
The tie game didn’t last long as the Spartans took the lead for good, 4-3, less than a minute later when Nystrom wristed the puck past Blagoue from the left circle after taking a pass from Polson.
Miller picked up his third assist on Nystrom’s 24th goal and then picked up his fourth assist on Bronson’s goal 1:20 later.
After taking a long pass from Grant Hanson, Miller got around a defender and had his shot stopped, but Bronson put home rebound from near the left post for his fourth goal of the season.
Bronson was at it again four minutes later when he picked up the puck behind the net and centered to Reder, who scored from the slot. Bronson and Bryan Bergstrom picked up their first assists of the season on Reder’s fifth goal.
SPARTAN SPIN: Miller also moved to No. 11 on Superior’s all-time scoring list with 48 goals and 56 assists for 104 points. Trent Clark is No. 10 on the list with 109 points (45 goals, 64 assists) from 1993-96. … FDL head coach Ryan Sarazin played at UW-Superior and was an assistant coach with UWS and the Spartans. … SHS senior captain Trent Olson is one of five finalists for the Davis Drewiske Award for the state’s top defenseman. Other finalists include: Daniel Tripicchio, Hudson; Jake Bunz, Middleton; Luke Davison, Notre Dame; and Thomas Aiken, WNS Storm. The winner will be announced Friday afternoon. … Superior defeated FDL 3-1 earlier in the season. … Superior was 2-of-5 on the power play and had five minor penalties. Fond du Lac was 1-of-4 with the extra skater and had six penalties. … Friday’s game may be heard locally on WNXR 107.3 FM.
Fond du Lac 1-1-1—3
First Period: 1. SHS, Tyler Nystrom 23 (Aaron Miller 35), 6:06. 2. SHS, Miller 35, 6:42. 3. FDL, Michael Wilson 33 (Kyle Dunn, Ian Tess-Wanat), 15:51 (pp).
Penalties: Brian Harney, FDL (holding), 2:13. Grant Hanson, SHS (holding), 14:51.
Second Period: 4. FDL, Wilson 34 (Rex Whealon, Ty Rebedew), 6:03. 5. SHS, Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate (Miller, Jesse Polson 13), 16:36 (pp).
Penalties: Rebedew, FDL (tripping), 3:00. Tess-Wanat, FDL (rough), 6:39. SHS, Polson (rough), 6:39. Mitch Anderson, SHS (interference), 6:48. SHS (too many men), 10:34. Rebedew, FDL (hooking), 15:38. SHS, Trent Olson (interference), 20:00.
Third Period: 6. FDL, Wilson 35 (Rebedew, Ben Pertl), 3:29 (sh). 7. SHS, Nystrom (Miller, Wakefield-Zubiate), 4:23 (pp). 8. SHS, Anthony Bronson 4 (Miller 38, Hanson 8), 5:43. 9. SHS, Beau Reder 5 (Bronson 1, Bryan Bergstrom 1), 9:52.
Penalties: Jack Nejedlo (tripping), 1:45. Pertl, FDL (tripping), 4:02.
Saves: Charlie Blagoue, FDL 6-11-8—25. Paxton Paine, SHS 3-5-1—9.