The Bluejay hockey team bounced back from a pair of losses last week with Tuesday’s 7-4 triumph over Shawano.
The Hawks jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the first period, but Merrill rallied to tie it in the second and put it away with three unanswered in the third.
“We took them a little too lightly,” MHS coach Chase Nelson said. “About midway through the second period, we started playing with some urgency and worked hard in all three zones. We caught a break with a five-minute power play at the beginning of the third.
“Will Schlegel had his first career varsity start and made some big saves late in the second period to keep it at a 4-4 tie. Austin Burgener, Michael Baumann, and Dylan Heller all had 3-point nights. Five different players also netted goals, which is nice to see.
While the game was a step in the right direction, Nelson’s looking for more from his squad.
“We still have to put three full periods together,” he said. “The kids need to figure out that this is a team game. They need to work together as a unit and communicate. We get three guys working hard and two guys watching. We get a defenseman to step up and make a nice play, but he has no one supporting him and no back-checkers working hard. Hockey does not work like that. It takes all five skaters on the ice working together. We are getting there.”
Bryce Swiechowski (A- Bauman) scored first in the game, Merrill played catch-up throughout the second with goals from Ivan DeBroux (2:08, A-Burgener), Heller (7:08, A-Burgener) and Brian Root (15:22, A-Burgener, Ben Brown). It was an all-Bluejay third with Heller (1:28, A Bauman), Brown (2:27, A- Heller, Bauman) and Swiechowski (2:42, A- Ben Rasmussen).
Saves–MHS–Will Schlegel 6-9-5–20. SHS—Brendan Chapman 13-13-17—43.
Stevens Point Pacelli prevailed 5-2 on Thursday.
“(It was) frustrating as far as our record goes, but a lot of good things happened out on the ice,” MHS coach Chase Nelson said. “The kids are starting to play with a little more confidence, they are playing loose, and they are starting to do some things that they need to do to win hockey games.”
Pacelli grabbed an early lead but Merrill knotted it 1-1 with 12:04 elapsed when Michael Bauman converted a Austin Burgener/Dylan Heller set-up. The Cardinals pushed it to 4-1 with two quick goals in the second, before MHS pulled within 4-2 on Brian Root’s score (A-Burgener, Heller) at the 7:08 mark. Less than a minute later, Pacelli tallied the final score.
“We came out a little flat in this one,” Nelson said. “They have two nice skaters that move their feet well and have some skill. The kids may have been a little intimidated by them at first. We did get better, as the game went on – at controlling our defensive zone – but we were not able to play a full three periods of hockey again.”
“(Bryce) Broeking was able to make some big saves to keep us close, but their goalie stood on his head also and we had trouble getting the puck into the net. Our first and second line started moving the puck better in the o-zone, which created some opportunities; opportunities that we hope we’ll be able to convert on as the year goes on.”
Teagan Vezina (2 G, 3 A) and Davis Cowden (1 G, 2 A) paced Pacelli.
Saves–MHS–Bryce Broeking 8-11-10–29; SPP–Trent Kollock 6-7-11–26.