Spartans come close at stateFour hit pipes and two missed penalty shots help spell doom for SHS boys hockey team in 5-3 loss to Eau Claire Memorial
By: Ken Olson, Superior Telegram
MADISON — The Superior High School boys hockey team just missed its bid for a berth in the WIAA State Hockey Tournament championship game with a 5-3 loss to the Eau Claire Memorial Old Abes in the semifinals Friday night at the Alliant Energy Center.
The Spartans outshot the Old Abes 33-20, hit four posts and missed on two penalty shots within a span of 2:38 in the second period.
“This game was just two great teams going at it,” ECM coach Mike Schwengler said. “We went toe-to-toe with them and fortunately we came out on the right side.
“Superior has a great tradition and that’s something we’re trying to establish here.”
The Old Abes added to their own tradition by holding off the Spartans and then going on to win their second state championship with a 6-1 win over Verona in Saturday’s title game. ECM’s first state title came in 2008.
The Spartans, whose season ends with a 19-8-1 record, got two goals from sophomore Daniel Burger and one from junior Aaron Miller.
“It’s not that the boys didn’t play hard or we didn’t have any chances, they just capitalized on theirs,” SHS coach Jason Kalin said. “I’m proud of these kids. They accomplished a lot more than people expected them to do. I’m especially going to miss the seniors, they provided great leadership and added to the tradition of the program.”
Brady Bollinger led the Old Abes with a goal and three assists. Jacob Bresser added two goals and Tye McLaughlin and Dylan Ross each scored once.
The Old Abes controlled most of the first period, outshooting the Spartans 8-5.
Superior looked to be weathering the storm, but with just 43 seconds left in the period McLaughlin snuck a slap shot past Spartan goaltender Paxton Paine from the point.
“I thought the first period was one of the best we played all year,” Schwenger said. “We got pucks deep, we pressured them, cut down what they wanted to do and we got them running around.”
Superior looked like a different team in the second period and 1:17 in Tyler Nystrom hit the right post.
Two minutes later, and seven seconds into a power play, the Spartans tied the game at 1-1 when Burger took a short pass from Jesse Polson and beat ECM goaltender Alex Geving from on top of the circle.
ECM regained a 2-1 lead 4:16 later when Dylan Ross scored on a back-door play after a pass from Chuck Bennis.
A minute later Nystrom was awarded Superior’s first penalty shot when he was hauled down, but his shot went wide with 8:37 left in the second period.
Then with Nystrom in the penalty box for tripping, Dane Sislo blocked a shot, picked up the loose puck at neutral ice and was hauled down as he neared the goal. Because Sislo was injured on the play Burger took the penalty shot.
Burger, who scored on a penalty shot earlier in the season at the Marshall Tournament, beat Geving but the puck clanged off the left post.
“The ice was a rough and I lost the handle on the puck,” Burger said.
Burger hit another post later in the second period, and then ECM increased its lead to 3-1 when Bresser got behind the SHS defense and scored his 41st goal with 1:35 left in the period.
“They really took it to us in the second period and we were lucky to respond like we did,” Schwengler said. “I’ve been coaching for 20 years and I’ve seen just one penalty shot. The shots could have gone either way; we were fortunate to get through it.
Superior got within 3-2 at 1:44 of the third period when Burger’s shot from the right point went in off Gaving’s glove.
The Old Abes got that goal back 59 seconds later on Bollinger’s goal.
Miller back-handed home a rebound after a Nystrom shot to get Superior within 4-3 with 12:24 remaining, but once again ECM quickly answered when Bresser scored two minutes later.
Paine finished with 17 saves for Superior.
“Paxton played an awesome game for us and made some really big saves,” Kalin said. “But it’s hard to ask a goaltender to stop that many breakaways. They had at least four odd-man rushes that led to breakaway goals. We have a young defensive unit, and they got caught pinching a couple of times.”
Geving had 28 saves for ECM.
“I was so nervous (on the penalty shots),” Geving said. “We practice breakaways all the time and I had confidence in myself, but I got lucky though with the first guy shooting wide and then the second guy hitting the pipe.
“The first five minutes of the third period were also a little shaky, but we weathered the storm and got through it.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Sislo returned to action in the second period, but then left the game 48 seconds into the third period with a shoulder injury. … Seniors suiting up for the final time for Superior were Sislo, Trent Olson, Aaron Foley and Zach Reiswig. … Miller finished the season with 36 goals and 38 assists for 74 points. With his goal against ECM, he passed Casey VanDamme (28-45—73) for No. 2 on Superior’s single-season scoring list. Marty Wiitala is No. 1 on the list with 40 goals and 43 assists during the 1981-82 season. … Miller is also No. 11 on the all-time scoring list with 48 goals and 57 assist for 105 points. Trent Clark is No. 10 on the list with 109 points (45 goals, 64 assists) from 1993-96.
Eau Claire Memorial 1-2-2—5
First Period: 1. ECM, Ty McLaughlin (Brady Bollinger), 16:17.
Second Period: 2. SHS, Daniel Burger 2 (Jesse Polson 14, Aaron Wakefield-Zubiate), 3:40 (pp). 3. ECM, Dylan Ross (Chuck Bennis, Bollinger), 7:56 (pp). 4. ECM, Jacob Bresser (Charley Graaskamp, Bollinger), 15:25.
Penalties: Graaskamp, ECM (cross checking), 3:33. Trent Olson, SHS (interference), 7:42. Tyler Nystrom, SHS (tripping), 9:30. Bennis, ECM (contact to the head), 11:55.
Third Period: 5. SHS, Burger 3 (Polson), 1:44 (pp). 6. ECM, Bollinger (Ross, Kadin Machusak), 2:43. 7. SHS, Aaron Miller 36 (Nystrom 21, Grant Hanson 9), 4:36. 8. ECM, Bresser (Graaskamp), 6:52.
Penalties: Graaskamp, ECM (hooking), 1:25. Bret Schwengler, ECM (tripping), 7:34. Graaskamp, ECM (hooking), 10:41.
Saves: Alex Geving, ECM, 5-15-8—28. Paxton Paine, SHS, 8-4-5—17.
SHS 6, FDL 3
The Spartans defeated the Fond du Lac Cardinals 6-3 in Thursday’s quarterfinal game.
Miller had a big game for the Spartans with a goal and four assists.
Nystrom added two goals, and Anthony Bronson, Beau Reder and Aaron Wakefield-Zubaite had a goal apiece.
Michael Wilson scored all three goals for the Cardinals (22-4-2).
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 faceoff 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.
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 the 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: FDL head coach Ryan Sarazin played at UW-Superior and was an assistant coach with UWS and the Spartans. … SHS senior captain Trent Olson was 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.
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.