Thunder knocks off state champs
Big second period takes down SHAW
Thursday, March 13, 2014 7:00 PM
SUN PRAIRIE, Wis. - With a dominant second period and solid finish, the M&M Thunder high school hockey team beat the defending state champions Friday night.
The Thunder knocked off Milwaukee SHAW 3-2 in the first round of the Wisconsin Amateur Hockey Association state tourney. SHAW is seeded second and the Thunder is the No. 5 seed.
"I think a lot of times in these tournaments, the first game's real important," Thunder coach Frank Best said. "We put ourselves in a good position to hopefully play on Sunday, which is our goal."
The Division 1 state championship game will be held Sunday at noon. The six-team field is divided into two divisions, and the leader in each will square off in the title game.
SHAW took a 1-0 lead on a 3-on-2 break with 5:05 left in the first period.
After killing off two penalties early in the second period, the Thunder frustrated SHAW into a flurry of penalties. With 11:08 left in the period, Denin Bieberitz scored the typing goal on a power play, with assists credited to Mark Pulver and Luke Kraus.
Then came a trip, a slash and a third SHAW penalty, and the Thunder had a 5-on-3 advantage for nearly four minutes. Colin Hass scored with 3:58 in the period on a Gunther DeDamos assist.
It was a great second period following a rather slow start.
"I think we came out and we played a lot more aggressively," Best said. "We forced them to make a lot of penalties."
The Thunder built a 3-1 lead with 11:07 left to play when Pulver scored on assists by Carson Lovedale and DeDamos.
The Thunder killed off two penalties midway through the third period, but SHAW scored with 2:03 remaining.
The Milwaukee team couldn't pull its goalie until the final seconds.
"The final 1:52 I think they only got the puck in our zone once or twice," Best said.
Both goalies made 23 saves. Best credited M&M goalie Zak Giese with playing a strong game in net. SHAW has two of the best players the Thunder has faced all season, the coach said.
"The two goals, he had absolutely no chance on," according to Best. "SHAW's a good hockey team."
In the tourney's scoring system, teams get two points per win, one for a tie, and one for each period in which they outscore their opponent. The Thunder got three out of a possible five points, and SHAW got one point.
Today at 10 a.m., the Thunder will play top-seeded Rock County, which opened with an eye-opening 7-1 win over Kenosha Friday. Rock County beat the Thunder 4-2 and 5-4 this season.
An article on the Thunder in Friday's EagleHerald omitted Hass, the team's leading goal scorer. Like all of his teammates, Hass is an honor roll student.