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SHS blanks New Richmond

A trio of seniors came up big for the Superior High School boys hockey team Tuesday night in a 2-0 victory over the New Richmond Tigers at Wessman Arena.

A trio of seniors came up big for the Superior High School boys hockey team Tuesday night in a 2-0 victory over the New Richmond Tigers at Wessman Arena.

Defenseman Tim Smith scored a power-play goal in the second period, center Wade Berkseth sealed the victory with 3:02 remaining when he dipsy-doodled around a couple players and scored on a high wrist shot and goaltender Kyle Johnson recorded his sixth shutout of the season with 19 saves.

The win moves the Spartans to within one game of a state tournament berth. Standing in their way are the River Falls Wildcats, who defeated Hudson 6-1 Tuesday night.

Saturday's sectional championship game begins at 2:30 p.m. at the Hudson Ice Arena.

"Our mindset was get out of here with a victory, get out injury free and get ready for Saturday," SHS coach Jason Kalin said. "We were never looking past New Richmond and we were ready for their style of play. We knew they were going to come out and be physical, but I thought we played well, controlled our emotions and got goals from key players when we needed them."

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After a scoreless first period, Smith's 14th goal of the year came 1:54 into the second period and during a delayed penalty on New Richmond.

Pat Dalbec fed Chris Bishop at the left point, where he then slid the puck over to Smith, who took a couple strides toward the goal and ripped the puck over Tiger goalie Tanner Milliron.

"It's nice having him back. Not only for confidence purposes, but he breaks the puck out well," said Kalin of Smith, who has played sparingly of late while tending to an injury. "He's been healthy for two weeks. He could have played since the Marshall game, but we decided it was best for our program that he just sits those games out and it worked out.

"Our team gained a lot of confidence without him and we played two solid games. But we're definitely happy to have him back."

The rest of the first period was near-misses as Dalbec got stopped on a breakaway attempt with 11:17 on the clock. Kellen McCoshen hit the right post from the left side nine minutes later. New Richmond's Aaron Pflueger then got past Superior's defense, but his shot hit the cross bar with 48 seconds left in the period.

It was pretty much the same in the third period as Mitch Kontny intercepted a pass but was stopped by Milliron, and Smith's shot from the left point led to Superior celebrating what was thought to be a goal.

Seconds later New Richmond had a 3-on-1 rush that ended with the puck being shot over the net.

"In the second period alone we hit five posts and I think one of them was in," Kalin said. "But we had to move on. I didn't care how many goals didn't make it in, we just had to make sure we moved on looked at getting another goal and Wade did just that."

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Berkseth's 12th goal sealed the victory with 3:02 remaining when he won a face off at neutral ice and eventually beat Milliron high from the slot.

"Noah (Gilbertson) was on the left of me and sucked two guys right to him and I had a wide open lane to the net," Berkseth said. "I just shot it five-hole and scored what was probably my biggest goal of the year, so far. Hopefully I can get a few more the rest of the way."

One of Johnson's biggest saves came with 2:04 remaining when he stopped a shot then got a blocker on the rebound.

"Kyle played great when we needed him," Kalin said. "He didn't get a ton of shots on him, most of the shots came from the outside, but in the third period they had a couple of opportunities that were getting us on our toes on the bench."

Milliron finished with 45 saves for New Richmond.

"Their goalie played well," Kalin said. "We knew we had to run traffic, get him moving and create some open opportunities in the slot.

"In the first two periods we didn't utilize the high guy in the slot and we were doing too much cycling. We were cycling to cycle, not cycling to get opportunities. Finally we got a couple of opportunities off a couple broken plays, two turnovers, and the rest is history."

SPARTAN SPIN: Superior's Nate Miner also hit a pipe in the first period. ... The Spartans took a too many men on the ice penalty just 42 seconds into the game. ... Superior wore its road jerseys for the second straight game.

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New Richmond 0 0 0 -- 0

Superior 0 1 1 -- 2

First Period: No Scoring.

Second Period: 1. SHS, Tim Smith 14 (Chris Bishop 8, Pat Dalbec 30), 1:54 (6-on-5).

Third Period: 2. SHS, Wade Berkseth 12 (unassisted), 13:58.

Saves: Tanner Milliron, NR 11-17-7--45. Kyle Johnson, SHS, 5-7-7--19. Penalties: NR 6-12:00. SHS 6-20:00. Records: NR 9-12-1. SHS 16-6.

Related Topics: HOCKEYRICHMONDSUPERIOR
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