Prep boys hockey: Williams, Spartans end Senior Night in style
Junior forward scores game-winning goal at 15:42 of third period to lift Superior past University School of Milwaukee.
SUPERIOR — Superior junior forward Lucas Williams came out of the locker room at Wessman Arena wearing a silver-sparkled motorcycle helmet, black visor pulled down, a baby blue suit jacket that looked like something from a ’70s prom, no shirt and a big smile.
Never mind that it was zero degrees outside. This was Sup Town stylin’.
Williams scored the game-winner at 15:42 in the third period to lift the Spartans to a 3-2 victory over sixth-ranked University School of Milwaukee Friday, Feb. 3, before about 350 at Wessman Arena on Senior Night.
That earned Williams the right to earn the player of the year garb until Superior’s next game, the regular-season finale Thursday, Feb. 9, against visiting Cloquet-Esko-Carlton.
Williams was quick to credit teammate Trevor Anderson for his game-winning goal. Anderson slid the puck right between the defender’s legs. University School goalie Mason Grenier appeared to be in position to block Williams' shot, but where there’s a will there’s a way.
“I just picked it up and shot it five-hole,” said Williams, who also had two assists on the night. “I was surprised that it got through (the defender’s legs) but I kind of had a feeling it might.”
The game was close throughout.
Williams’ heroics were set up by senior Carson Gotelaere’s game-tying goal at 6:24 in the third after the Wildcats had gone up 2-1 on Augie Wolf’s goal at 1:53 in the third.
Both teams saw the matchup as the perfect playoff primer, two of Wisconsin’s best teams battling it out and that’s how it ended up.
University School made the nearly 400-mile drive from Milwaukee for just such a purpose. Saturday, the Wildcats will take on Hudson.
“We’re in a situation where we’re trying to schedule the best teams in the state to make our team better,” University School coach Corbin McGuire said. “We like backloading our schedule here to play some of the top teams in the state as we prepare for playoffs. We’ll get on a plane, train, bus, whatever it takes to get that level of competition because it makes our team better. We love coming up north and playing tough teams like this.”
Superior has had some really nice wins in coach Evan Nelson’s first season, beating both Duluth Denfeld and Hibbing/Chisholm, and playing Grand Rapids tough, losing 3-2, but the Spartans were disappointed with a 1-0 loss Thursday at Proctor.
Friday’s big win was the perfect tonic.
“I don’t know if we were looking more toward this game or what, we knew how important this game was,” Nelson said. “We couldn’t get a bounce to go our way and Proctor played a good game. Sometimes we look beyond what’s right in front of us.”
“That was a nice bounce back,” Williams said. “It was rough losing to Proctor but a win like this, against a top 10 team in the state, it looks good for us.”
Grenier finished with 21 saves for University School (15-6) while junior Trent Peterson, who Nelson called the team’s “backbone,” had 25 for the Spartans (11-10).
Between the first and second periods Superior honored its six seniors. That made for a longer break between periods, but it was still shorter than last year, when the Spartans had 19 seniors.
Superior will find out Sunday who they play in the section playoffs but Nelson is hopeful Friday’s win helps the Spartans get a top-three seed.
Nelson had served as an assistant under head coach Jason Kalin since 2014-15 before taking over the reins this season. So far, so good.
“It’s been great,” said Nelson, a 2006 Superior graduate. “I’ve got a great staff with me (veteran assistants Ryan Hendry and Rob Downs and new addition Patrick Herbert). And the guys (on the team) … it’s a fun group to come to work with every day, so that makes it easy.”
University School 0-1-1—2
First period — No scoring.
Second period — 1. US, Marcus Thundercloud (Willam Guy), 6:14; 2. S, Lucas Williams (Carson Gotelaere, Trevor Anderson), 9:46.
Third period — 3. US, Augie Wolf (Liam Fetherston), 1:53; 4. S, Gotelaere (Williams), 6:24; 5. S, Williams (Anderson), 15:42.
Saves — Mason Grenier, US, 21; Trent Peterson, S, 25.