Spartans, Raiders skate to 1-1 tie
For the second time in three days the Superior High School boys hockey team played toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in Wisconsin. After coming up short in a 3-2 loss Saturday at Hudson, the Spartans and Raiders skated to an 1-1 overtime tie T...
For the second time in three days the Superior High School boys hockey team played toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in Wisconsin.
After coming up short in a 3-2 loss Saturday at Hudson, the Spartans and Raiders skated to an 1-1 overtime tie Tuesday night at Superior Ice Arena.
“We played a lot better tonight than we did down in Hudson,” SHS coach Jason Kalin said. “We made some mistakes and we had some costly turnovers, but the guys battled back, took care of things in front of the net, and Caden (Welch) played another great game.”
Welch, who finished with 36 saves on Saturday, stopped 34 more shots Tuesday. Hudson’s Anthony Howard had 27 saves in the two games, including 13 Tuesday.
After a scoreless first period, Hudson took a 1-0 lead on Chase Blackmun’s power-play goal 3:20 into the second period.
Blackmun, who had a goal and an assist in Saturday’s game, took a pass from Tanner Gornick and beat a screened Welch with a low shot from the point.
The Spartans killed off three penalties during the rest of the second period, then tied the game on Taylor Burger’s goal 6:42 into the third period.
Just seconds after Welch made a toe save near the post, Burger picked up a loose puck at neutral ice, skated down the right wing and beat Hudson goaltender Anthony Howard with a shot from the right circle.
“I went past the ‘D’ on the blueline, picked up the puck and surprised the goalie with a nice little shot bottom right,” Burger said. “I don’t know if Welch should have gotten an assist on the goal, but I do know he played a great game.”
Both teams had good scoring chances later in the third period, including when Superior’s Tyler Nelson found a loose puck in front of the net but shot wide on a back-hander.
Blackmun hit the left post with 1:55 remaining, then SHS senior defenseman Braden LaPorte broke up a possible breakaway attempt with five seconds remaining.
“The first period was pretty sluggish for us, but I thought we came out real well in the second, except for the three penalties, that helped us lose the momentum,” Kalin said. “The third period was one of our best periods we’ve played so far.”
Hudson outshot Superior 7-1 in overtime and forced Welch to make at least three saves in the opening 10 seconds of the eight-minute extra session.
Welch went on to stop four more shots and also benefitted from a number of blocked shots, including one by Tanner Sterling, who blocked a shot from his knees in the final minute of play.
“No. 15 (Sterling) and No. 11 (Blake Hanson) had a couple of huge blocks at the end,” Kalin said. “They’re a fast team and it’s hard to keep up with them, so we had to take angles, make sure we blocked shots and kept them to the outside. I thought we did a pretty good job of that tonight.”
The Spartans play at Cloquet at 7:15 p.m. Friday, then host New Richmond at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“This was a big tie for us when it comes to playoff seeds, but then we have to take care of New Richmond on Tuesday - that’s a huge one for us,” Kalin said. “We’re just going to take it one game at a time. We have a fun game at the “Barn” in Cloquet Friday, that’s going to be a battle, too. They’re another quick team.”
Home away from home
Superior was playing its first home game in 33 days.
Even though Tuesday’s game wasn’t played at their usual home rink at Wessman Arena, the Spartans felt right at home at Superior Ice Arena.
“This feels like home, we love it and the boys love it,” Kalin said. “Chris Stenberg and everybody at SAHA (Superior Amateur Hockey Association) made us feel very welcome. They did a nice job of just creating a nice space for everybody.
“We’re happy to play here. As a matter of fact, we’d like to do it once a year, maybe trade with the girls. We also didn’t have to travel for the first time in a month. I didn’t mind the mile drive.”
Burger also liked playing at the Superior Ice Arena.
“We played a lot better than Saturday,” Burger said. “We had a lot of energy in this game. This is where we all grew up playing hockey.”
SPARTAN SPIN: Hudson won the JV game 4-0. … Superior had four minor penalties and Hudson two. … Burger leads the Spartans with 10 goals. … “Skate with the Spartans” will take place after Tuesday’s game with New Richmond. … The Spartan pancake breakfast is Sunday, Feb. 5 in the SHS cafeteria. Tickets may be purchased from Spartan players/coaches or at the door.
Hudson..................................... 0 1 0 0 - 1
Superior.................................... 0 0 1 0 - 1
Second Period - 1. H, Chase Blackmun (Tanner Gornick), 3:20 (pp).
Third Period - 2. SHS, Tyler Burger 10, 6:42.
Saves - Anthony Howard, H, 3-4-5-1-13. Caden Welch, SHS, 8-12-7-7-34.