Friday, September 21, 2018


Boys hockey: State tournament field preview

Eau Claire Memorial is back at state for a ninth straight season and has outscored teams 25-1 in the playoffs. That included a 4-0 shutout of Eau Claire North in the sectional final. Coached by first-year man and former Badgers assistant captain Chris Tok. Led offensively by potent 1-2 punch of Brenden Olson (26 goals, 25 assists) and Ben Zacho (22 goals, 25 assists). Joe Free has 35 points, while Josh Berg has 32 out of his defenseman position. Memorial has outscored teams on average 4.74-1.74 on the season. Trevor Hudecek is the backbone in net, stopping 446 pucks on the year with a career-best .931 save percentage. Olson is tendered by NAHL’s Janseville Jets. Won titles in 2008 and 2013 and comes into this state tournament with a 23-2-2 record. Assisted by former UW-Eau Claire national champions David Donnellan and Andrew McCabe. Jeff Schemberger and Mogey McDonough are also on the Memorial bench. ... Memorial’s quarterfinal opponent is West Salem/​Bangor, making its second straight state appearance. Led by University of Wisconsin recruit Jack Gorniak, who was named Mr. Hockey on Wednesday night. has exactly 30 goals and 30 assists. Averages 4.8 goals per game and gives up 1.92. Split goaltenders between Adam Helgeson (727 minutes) and Mitch Hammes (612). Eric Borre is the coach, and West Salem/​Bangor has a 20-7 record on the year and beat Onalaska 4-0 in sectional final. Lost to Old Abes 6-3 on Dec. 27. Memorial outshot West Salem/​Bangor 38-16 in contest and built 5-1 lead as backup goalie Nick Schultz played for Old Abes. “They have one good player who some of the guys have played with on Team Wisconsin (Gorniak) and he is pretty good. I think if we play good defense and good offense, we can really shut them down and get them moving,” Memorial junior Brenden Olson said. ... D.C. Everest makes its first trip to state after earning back-to-back double overtime wins in the sectional. Beat perennial state power Wausau West 3-2 in the semis and then knocked off Stevens Point 2-1 in finals. Also has strong goaltending as Michael Janke has a 1.84 goals against average. J.J. Berdal is team’s top scorer with 24 goals and 26 assists, while Ryan Begley has 20 goals on the year. Record is 19-6-2. Coached by UW-La Crosse grad Daniel VanSlyke. ... Hudson is back at the state tournament for the third straight season and is the defending state champion after being runner-up in 2016. Has 23-1-1 record with lone loss coming to Green Bay Notre Dame and tie coming against Eau Claire Memorial. Led by defenseman and Big Rivers player of the year Jordon Halverson, who has 10 goals and 26 assists. Top forwards are sophomore Peyton Hanson (21 goals, 20 assists), Ben Lundeen (19 goals, 18 assists). Giving up just 1.02 goals per game. Alex Cohen has 347 saves and a 1.12 goals allowed average. Coached by UW-Eau Claire graduate Brooks Lockwood with former NHL players Dean Talfous and Davis Drewiske on staff. .... St. Mary’s Springs is making its first trip to the state tournament and comes in with a 21-4-2 record. Beat University School of Milwaukee 1-0 in sectional final and has outscored opponents 13-1 in postseason. Led by Zach Welsch (26 goals, 22 assists) and Brady Welsch (18 goals, 17 assists). Colin Ahern has played all but four minutes in goal and has 564 saves and a 1.17 goals against average. Coached by University of Notre Dame alum Tim Ahern. .... Green Bay Notre Dame is making its sixth state appearance and first since 2014. The Tritons won the state title in 2012. Led by Bryce Poshak (22 goals, 18 assists) and Brendan Poshak (13 goals, 17 assists). Bo Buckley is the goalie. He comes in with 467 saves and a 2.04 goals against average. Beat state qualifiers Memorial and Hudson while losing to Waukesha. Beat Neenah/​Hortonville/​Menasha 6-4 in sectional final. Coached by Cory McCracken. Enters state tournament with an 18-7-2 record. .... Verona  makes its seventh state appearance and first since winning the state title in 2014. Current UW-Eau Claire forward Todd Koritzinsky is an alum of the program. This year’s Wildcats are led by the tournament’s top scorer in Brockton Baker, who has 30 goals and 31 assists on the year. In net, Garhett Keagi has been the main guy, recording an .890 save percentage while pitching two shutouts. Coached by UW-Stevens Point grad Joel Marshall. Record is 20-3-3 and knocked off Madison Edgewood 4-3 in double overtime in sectional final. ... Waukesha was last year’s state runner-up and is led by all-state goaltender Garrett Larsen, who has a gaudy .953 save percentage and allowed just 26 goals on 564 shots. Chad Larsen is team’s top scorer with 19 goals and 23 assists, while Garrett Wilderman has 21 goals and 11 assists. Graduated last year’s Mr. Hockey, Ian Malcolmson, who is committed to Northern Michigan. Coached by Raja Aylsworth. Knocked off Milwaukee Marquette 5-2 in sectional final. Record of 20-4-3. Tied Memorial 1-1 in December and lost to Hudson 3-0 in same tournament.


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