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Spartans advance with overtime win

MADISON -- There's something about playing at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison that brings out the best in John LeDoux. One year after enjoying a three-goal and one-assist state tournament, the Superior High School junior forward was at it ag...

MADISON -- There's something about playing at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison that brings out the best in John LeDoux.

One year after enjoying a three-goal and one-assist state tournament, the Superior High School junior forward was at it again Thursday night, scoring the game-winning goal 2:26 into overtime to give the Spartans a 6-5 victory over University School of Milwaukee and a berth in tonight's Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association semifinals.

LeDoux also scored 2:13 into the third period to give the Spartans a 5-3 lead, but the Wildcats forced overtime with goals three minutes later just 36 seconds apart.

"I just have a record of playing good in big games. I don't know why," said LeDoux, who was moved up to the third line before the game. "I've been fourth line for a while, and maybe it motivated me a bit. I just try to do my best on every shift."

When tied at 5, the Spartans killed off two penalties in the final six minutes, thanks mostly to the goaltending of senior Kyle Johnson, who stopped a 2-on-0 Wildcat break with 5:03 remaining.

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"Killing those penalties were huge," said Superior coach Jason Kalin. "We had some guys gassed, but (Noah) Gilbertson had a big blocked shot, (James) LaPine did well, and we had guys playing their positions. We did what we needed to do."

University School's Read Servis was called for tripping 45 seconds into overtime and 1:40 later, Pat Dalbec circled behind the Wildcat goal and found LeDoux in the slot, where he beat goaltender Jeff Dye.

"Dalbec's a great passer," LeDoux said. "After he made eye contact with me, I cut behind the defender, he dished it, got as much on it as I could and stuck it through the five-hole."

The Spartans will play unbeaten Eau Claire Memorial at 7:15 tonight for a berth in Saturday's championship game. The Old Abes (24-0) advanced with a 3-1 win over Janesville. Other quarterfinal results were Madison Edgewood defeating Mosinee 5-4 and Appleton blanking Wisconsin Rapids 4-0.

"USM played a wonderful game," Kalin said. "They capitalized on their odd-man rushes, and we didn't play that well on defense. Offensively, we played well and controlled play in the second and third period, but we're going to have to play better on defense against Memorial.

"We have some guys banged up and guys are tired, but I'm sure they'll do. But we're going to have to play our very best defensive game, and we didn't have that against University."

Dalbec gave the Spartans a 1-0 at 2:49 of the first period when his shot from the right circle got between the pads of Dye. Tim Smith picked up his 15th assist on Dalbec's 19th goal.

The Wildcats had a chance to tie it up four minutes later when Simon Leahy snuck between the Superior defense for a breakaway attempt. But Johnson came up big with a save on his glove side.

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University School eventually tied the game when Billy Crimmins scored his 16th goal of the season with help from Beau Pahlin.

The Spartans took advantage of the game's first penalty when Smith pounded home the rebound after his own shot and a second attempt by LeDoux. Smith's 15th goal of the season came with 9.1 seconds left in the opening period.

Each team scored twice in the second period.

Leahy scored twice for the Wildcats, and LaPine and Wade Berkseth scored for Superior.

Both of the Spartans' second-period goals came on rebounds. LaPine's fourth goal of the season came after LeDoux took a shot from the slot, giving Superior a 3-2 lead with nine minutes left.

University School tied the game 1:13 later as Leahy put the finishing touches on a 2-on-1 break.

Smith set up Berkseth's 13th goal of the year with a shot from the point. Dye made the save, and the puck stopped right on the stick of Berkseth, who was at the left post.

"The puck just trickled to my stick and I was able to put it away," Berkseth said. "It feels good. It's one more day I get to play hockey."

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SPARTAN SPIN: Kalin was sporting a black eye he got when hit by a stick during Tuesday's practice. .. Four fan buses, in from SHS, made the trip, including the Spartan band.

University School of Milwaukee 1-2-2-0--5

Superior 2-2-1-1--6

First Period: 1. SHS, Pat Dalbec 19 (Tim Smith 15), 2:49. 2. USM, Billy Crimmins 16 (Beau Palin 3), 11:36. 3. SHS, Tim Smith 15 (John LeDoux 14), 16:50 (pp).

Penalties: Jack Wigdale (tripping), 14:56.

Second Period: 4. USM, Simon Leahy 9 (Wigdale 19), 5:17. 5. SHS, James LaPine 4 (LeDoux 15), 9:00. 6. USM, Leahy 10 (Alex Tesensky 14), 10:13. 7. SHS, Wade Berkseth 13 (Smith 16, Andrew Mattson 11), 11:19 (pp).

Penalties: Kyle Jacobs, USM (interference), 10:30. Jacobs, USM (hooking), 13:05.

Third Period: 8. SHS, LeDoux 14 (LaPine 11, Taylor Leuthner 10), 2:13. 9. USM, Leahy 11 (Patrick McMinn 6), 5:12. 10. USM, Colin Fritz 12 (Read Servis 14), 5:44.

Penalties: Vance Plunkett, SHS (holding), 6:39. Noah Gilbertson, SHS (hooking), 11:57.

OT: 11. SHS, LeDoux 15 (Dalbec 33), 2:26 (pp). Penatlies: Servis, USM (tripping), :45.

Saves: Jeff Dye, USM 5-9-7-2--23. Kyle Johnson, SHS 10-5-8-0--23.

Related Topics: HOCKEYMADISONSUPERIOR
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