The Superior High School boys hockey team saved its best for last in a 7-0 victory over the Barron Co-op (Northwest) Icemen in WIAA regional game Thursday, Feb. 14, at Wessman Arena.
The Spartans scored five of their goals in a third period, when they outshot the Icemen 14-0.
Two of the third-period goals were by Taylor Burger, who deflected a Trevor Dalbec shot past Barron goaltender Jonah Becker, then scored on a wrap-around with 2:41 remaining.
Superior eventually outshot Barron 49-13 for the game, but Becker kept the game close for a while with 42 saves.
“Their goalie was hot; he stood on his head,” Burger said. “In the third period, we started listening to the coaches and bought into what they said. We just got pucks to the net and kept it simple.”
The Spartans will need to be more accurate when they host New Richmond in a sectional semifinal at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19. The Tigers (9-12) advanced with a 7-6 win over River Falls.
The Spartans will also have to keep an eye on Hayden Bradbury, who had five goals and two assists in the Tigers’ win, and finished the regular season with 26 goals and 11 assists.
Head coach Jason Kalin also wants the Spartans to pick up the intensity.
“I want these guys to play like we’re playing for the section final,” Kalin said. “There are a lot of things we need to focus on - things we haven’t done well in our last three games, including putting pucks on net. We passed up 10-15 shots in the second period, but we came back and made a nice finish of it in the third. We need that to continue in the playoffs.”
The Spartans got off to a great start Thursday, putting the first 14 shots on goal and in the process taking a 2-0 lead.
Gunnar Hansen whacked home a rebound after a shot by Cayden Laurvick, and defenseman Derrick Mattson stole a clearing attempt, skated in a couple of strides, and ripped the puck over the Becker’s right shoulder for his first varsity goal.
Barron’s first shot on goal came during a Drew Nelson roughing penalty with six minutes remaining in the first period.
The Icemen continued to pressure Superior during another penalty and eventually outshot the Spartans 8-5 the rest of the period.
Both goalies came up with big pad saves in the final three minutes.
Barron’s Gavin Gordon found himself alone in the slot, but was stopped by Spartan goalie Dayton Podvin, who picked up his first shutout with 13 saves.
Then it was Becker’s turn. With the clock winding down, Grant Sorensen got behind the Barron defense, but his back-handed attempt was stopped by Becker’s sliding save just as the buzzer sounded.
The Spartans outshot the Icemen 18-5 in the second period, but didn’t have anything to show for it as the score remained 2-0.
“After the first seven minutes of the first period it got pretty ugly,” Kalin said. “We got away from our game. We talked about keeping it simple and when we stay simple, get pucks deep and cycle pucks, we’re an awesome team to watch. When we got away from that, trying to get too pretty, making unnecessary passes, then it looked pretty bad.”
The Spartans met Kalin’s challenge with five third-period goals, including one by Sorensen, who put home his own rebound at 18 seconds.
Superior’s fourth goal came just over four minutes later when Burger deflected Dalbec’s shot from the point past Becker.
Cayden Laurvick made it 5-0 with his team-leading 25th goal at 9:55; Burger made it 6-0 with an unassisted wrap-around goal at 14:19, and Hansen completed the scoring with a slap shot from the slot with 25.3 seconds remaining.
Barron Co-op 0-0-0--0
First period -- 1. Gunnar Hansen 17 (Cayden Laurvick 14, Grant Sorensen 16), 7:55; SHS, Derrick Mattson, 10:22.
Penalties -- Colton Avery, B (hooking), 0:57. Drew Nelson, S (roughing), 10:33. Hansen, S (slashing), 14:16.
Second period -- No scoring.
Penalties -- Jared Burch, B (tripping), 5:45. Tyler Bohn, B (slashing), 10:28. Sorensen, S (interference), 11:30.
Third period -- 3. Sorensen 11 (Laurvick 15), 0:18. 4. Taylor Burger 15 (Trevor Dalbec 13, Sean McCoshen 4), 4:37. 5. Laurvick 24 (Hansen 24, Sorensen 17), 9:55. 6. Burger, 14:19; 7. Hansen (McCoshen), 16:35.
Penalties -- None.
Saves -- Jonah Becker, B, 15-18-9--42. Dayton Podvin, SHS, 8-5-0--13.