Hot Mosinee knocks Jays out of regional
The road is over for the Bluejay hockey team.
Merrill entered last Tuesday’s WIAA regional play as the 12th seed at fifth-seeded Mosinee, and the host team proved that disparity in seeding was deserved in a 15-2 rout.
Mosinee improved to 17-7-2 overall, after posting a 11-2-1 mark in the GNC. Merrill closed out a 2-20 campaign with an 0-12 mark in the WVC, arguably the toughest hockey conference in the state.
The Indians would also forge a mild 4-2 upset of fourth-seed SPASH on Thursday after the Merrill win.
“Mosinee is a very talented team,” MHS coach Chase Nelson said. “They have some great seniors and some good underclassmen.
“We did not play our best tonight and the score shows that. We had some breakdowns around our own net and Mosinee made the most of those chances.”
Mosinee held a 6-1 lead after the first period. It was 4-0 when Adam Kohnhorst scored an unassisted power play goal with 7:59 elapsed.
But the host team ripped off seven straight goals over the course of the second period to boost it to 13-1. Lucas Kleinschmidt finally ended the drought by converting a Dylan Heller pass with just 27 seconds to go.
Mosinee tacked a pair more goals in the third period.
Sixteen different Mosinee players figured in scoring, led by Matthew Sprink (3 g, 2 a), Jacob Hrebik (2 g, 3 a), Justin Edwards (2 g, 2 a) and Bryce Hladovcak (1 g, 3 a).
The host team outshot Merrill 61-16.
Nelson knows the Bluejays have work to accomplish in the future.
“The season did not quite go as we envisioned it but we knew we were going to be young and it was going to be a learning experience,” Nelson said. “Our youth showed many times this year, especially in the Valley games. We were able to beat a couple of Great Northern teams, including Tomahawk. The best thing is we will have 14 of these kids coming back, most with a ton of high school hockey experience under their belts.
“Three seniors (Kohnhorst, Trevor Jahnke and Jared Hoffmann) played their last hockey game in a Merrill uniform (Tuesday) night, and they have been through a lot in their four years, including three different head coaches (Bill Hauswirth, Chris Marlowe and Nelson).
Saves-MHS-Stephen Simon 23-16-7-46. Mosinee-Jimmy Rogers 3-2-*-5, 1 g; A.J. Fuls *-3-6-9, 1 g.