Merrill skaters hang tough to pull out overtime triumph
The Bluejay hockey team dropped a close one to Wausau East and got pummelled by SPASH before rallying for an overtime win over Medford on Saturday.
Four different players notched goals in Saturday’s win. Kyle Kleinschmidt and Bryce Swiechowski each scored Michael Bauman assists in the middle of the first period for a 2-0 lead, and Dylan Heller (A-Ben Brown ) made it 3-1 with 7:49 gone in the second. Medford’s Jack Shafer scored his second goal and Spenser Scholl converted a power play with 3:44 left in the game to knot it at 3-3. Austin Burgener ended it 6:20 into overtime with assists from Heller and Brian Root.
“For the first time this year, we played a full three-period hockey game,” MHS coach Chase Nelson said. “From the very beginning, the kids were flying around to loose pucks, kids were finding open lanes and moving their feet to get there, and we were getting traffic in front of the net.
“Not too many bad things to say about tonight. We outshot them almost 2-1 for the game, and we still passed up on 10-15 more opportunities to shoot. We have to tip the hat to Carter Jamieson, Medford’s goalie. He has been solid all year for them and he showed it again tonight.”
Saves–MHS–Bryce Broeking 9-4-10-1–24; Med.–Carter Jamieson 15-13-14-5–47.
East by the least
The Lumberjacks pulled out a narrow 5-4 home win last Tuesday.
“We came out flat in this one and didn’t play very good hockey for about the first 6-7 minutes of the game and East jumped out 2-0,” Nelson said. “To the credit of our Merrill kids, they fought back in a pretty hostile environment and tied the game at 2-2 after the first. We played pretty decent hockey in the second but trailed 4-2 after two. We then battled through the third period but just didn’t have enough in the tank to finish the deal. Bryce Broeking played really well in net with a save percentage just shy of 90%.
“Our second line, made up of seniors Michael Baumann, Bryce Swiechowski, and Kyle Kleinschmidt, worked their tails off on the forecheck and were rewarded with some quality scoring opportunities. Us coaches were proud of the effort for the last 2-1/2 periods, but we still have to figure out how to put three full periods together.”
Burgener (A- Heller) and Heller (A- Burgener, Root) brought the Jays back. Burgener (A- Heller, Root) cut it to 4-3 in the third and Brown (UA) scored late to bring it to 5-4.
Point went to town, 15-1, on its home ice on Thursday.
“Well, we had the lead 1-0 and had two other quality chances and could have been leading 3-0 halfway through the first period, “Nelson said. “Then we blinked and it was 6-1 after the first. SPASH is the best team that we have played this year, so far. They see the ice well, they move to open areas, and the biggest thing is that they move their feet. For the most part, these young men competed until the end.
“Getting beat 15-1 is a hard pill to swallow, but every experience, good or bad, is a learning experience. What these kids take from this game is what matters most. We did do a lot of things correctly tonight but we just don’t do them consistently enough to take down top teams like SPASH.”
Burgener (UA) scored 8:16 into the first. Ten fdifferent Panthers scored led by Kobe Keller (3 G, 5 A), Jacob DuFresne (1 G, 4 A) and Zach Dedeker (3 G, 1 A).
Saves–MHS–Bryce Broeking 9-2-10–21; Marsh–Chris Sanford 3-9-*–12, 5 G; Scotty Berg *-*–5–5, 0 G.
The Jays will play Medford at 6:00 p.m. to open the Merrill Tournament, while L’Anse, Mich., and Sparta vie immediately after. The winners meet at 1:00 p.m. Sat., and the losers go at 11:00 a.m.