Jays and Hatchets battle to end
The Merrill hockey team built a 5-3 lead over Tomahawk through two periods on Saturday, but the Hatchets tied it up in the 3rd before taking an 8-7 overtime contest.
“What a tough loss,” MHS coach Chase Nelson said. “The kids played their hearts out tonight. It was a complete back-and-forth game from start to finish, where each team had a numerous offensive chances. The fans did not turn away from this one.”
From the perspective of THS coach Jake Flohr, “It was a great win to end the regular season.”
Tomahawk’s Kevin Bolder (A- Jake Panzer) scored the only goal of the 1st, “then we came out flying in the second putting five pucks in the net,” Nelson said. “Our top two lines were both producing a ton of scoring chances. Our first line generated three goals and our second line generated four goals. That is some good balance.
“Unfortunately one of our defensemen went down with a concussion, and we had a shift a forward back to play defense, breaking up our lines and we were not quite as potent as we were in the second period.
“Right before Tomahawk scored the game-winner in overtime, the puck just sat in the (THS) goal crease, but we couldn’t get anyone there to slam it home.”
Lucas Kleinschmidt (A- Nick Hoffmann, Josh Harris), Dylan Heller (A- Michael Baumann), Hoffmann (UA), Bryce Swiechowski (A- Heller) and Kleinschmidt (A- Hoffmann) gave Merrill a 5-3 margin in a see-saw 2nd. Panzer (A- Alex Ungerer) and Ungerer (A- Luke Schoone, Adam Russo) scored for THS.
But the Hatchets ripped off three to start the third with one from Schoone (A- Panzer, Ungerer) and two from A.J. Bunce (A- Kris Gaedtke; A- Kammer).
The Jays regained the lead with a pair of tallies from Heller (UA), but Ungerer knotted it (A- Schoone) with 3:35 left and ended it (A- Panzer, Schoone) 4:20 into OT.
Saves-MHS-Stephen Simon 18-10-12-6-46. THS-Danny Hanke 10-14-7-1-32.
The state’s 10th-ranked Wausau West led Merrill just 5-2 after the first but eventually won 15-3.
“We played them extremely tough in the first period, and we scored two goals on one of the top goalies in the state,” Nelson said.
“Although the score looks terrible, we played more of a back and forth game with West.”
Kleinschmidt (A- Hoffmann) and Baumann (A-Swiechowski, Heller) cut it to 5-2 with goals, and Swiechowski (A- Baumann) scored to make it 10-3.
Saves-MHS-Stephen Simon 58. WW-17.
A two-goal 2nd was the difference in Tomahawk’s 7-5 win over Rhinelander on Tuesday.
THS only trailed for a short time in the 3rd, but scored 3 straight from Steven Renn (A- Bunce, Kammer), Trevor Iwen (UA) and Panzer (UA) to close it out.
Iwen (A- Kammer, Bunce), Cole Hoeppner (A- Panzer), Kammer (A- Bolder) and Gaedtke (A- Bunce, Kammer) scored the early goals.
Saves-THS-Hanke 10-9-6-25. RHS-Jake Arno 13-17-16-46.
Marshfield jumped out 3-0 and 6-0 in the first two periods before closing down a 7-0 game last Tuesday.
“We came out a little flat tonight and we were never able to recover,” Nelson said. “Marshfield scored three quick goals very early and we were never able to gain any momentum.”
Saves-MHS-Simon 28. MaHS-7.
Everest alternated three, two and three goals per period in an 8-0 win at the MARC on Thursday.
“We played one of the better teams in our sectional pretty tough tonight,” Nelson said. “We ran three lines and they ran five lines. By the end of the night, our skaters were exhausted and Everest was able to add a couple more goals late in the third. I am proud of the effort we put forward tonight.”
Saves-MHS-Simon 50. DCE-11.
Mosinee worked a 9-1 home win over THS on Thursday.
It was 8-0 with 4:07 left in the 3rd when Iwen (A- Schoone, Bunce) broke the scoring ice for Tomahawk.
Saves-THS-Hanke 36. MHS-24.
Merrill (#12) visited Antigo (#5) in the regional opener while Tomahawk (#10) traveled to Pacelli (#7) in games played Tuesday.