In a battle between two of the Milwaukee area's top boys hockey teams, Homestead made use of three power play goals, including two during one five-minute major penalty, to defeat University School of Milwaukee 5-3 before a packed house in the Ozaukee Ice Center Tuesday night.
The two teams dedicated the night to cancer awareness, and honored three hockey coaches who are cancer survivors; USM head coach Cal Roadhouse, USM assistant coach Yves Preston, and Homestead assistant coach Tony Navarre. The proceeds that the large crowd paid for the evening’s excitement all went to benefit cancer treatment and cancer research.
The game was fast-paced and displayed the two teams’ offensive and defensive prowess. The hockey fans that filled the rink got their money’s worth.
USM out shot Homestead in every period. Homestead’s sophomore goalie Killian Martin made a total of 27 saves and USM’s sophomore goaltender Bryan Botcher made 16 saves.
“But their power plays killed us,” said USM’s co-head coach Doug Coleman, a thought shared by all the USM supporters in attendance.
The Wildcats scored the game’s first goal early in the first period. Senior Corey Roadhouse controlled a loose puck along the right mid-boards in the Homestead end. He fired the puck on net and rushed after it. The rebound went behind the net. Roadhouse got it and flipped the puck out front to senior Kenny Servis in the slot. Servis quickly snapped a shot past Martin at 2:54.
Homestead tied the score midway through the period. Sophomore Jon Weyker got the puck in the Homestead end and sent a stretch pass into center ice to senior Jake Roeper, who took off on a breakaway. Roeper moved into the USM zone, put a move on Botcher, and slid the puck past him at 4:05.
Homestead went ahead just over two minutes later. Senior defenseman Evan Siodlarz took a shot from the USM blue line. The puck hit a USM defenseman and popped to the stick of Homestead sophomore Ryan Mezera as he skated though the slot. He went below the goal line and centered a pass back into the slot to junior Thomas Fazio. Fazio one-timed his shot into the net at 8:24.
The remainder of Homestead’s goals came on power plays. The first came at 10:55 of the second period. As the Highlanders moved the puck around the USM zone, Fazio got the puck along the left mid-boards, moved toward the slot, and gunned a shot. The rebound bounced out front to senior Peter Schmitz who jammed it in.
Not to be out done, USM scored less than thirty seconds later. As the Wildcats cycled the puck in the Homestead zone, sophomore defenseman Vadim Sukhanov intercepted a poor Homestead clearing attempt at the blue line. He stickhandled around a Homestead defender into the slot and blazed a wrist shot past Martin at 11:29.
The score stayed at 3-2 into the third period until USM received a five-minute major penalty at 3:48. Then the Highlanders struck for two more power play goals. The first came at 5:45. As the Highlanders were working the puck in the USM end, sophomore Michael Schulz passed it to freshman Adam Hobbs at the point. Hobbs took a shot that hit Botcher. The goaltender could not find the rebound at his side. Homestead senior Aaron Sherman moved in and poked it, so it slid over the goal line.
Homestead soon scored again during the major. Schmitz passed the puck to Roeper at the point. He gunned it at the net and Siodlarz tipped it in.
Although the large penalty damaged the Wildcats’ chances, they kept at it. They scored a goal on their own power play in the last minute of the period. After USM pulled Botcher for an extra skater, senior defenseman Nathan Burke got the puck at the Homestead blue line and took a shot. It rebounded to Roadhouse behind the net. Roadhouse centered it to junior Ben Walker in the slot, and Walker one-timed it in.
The result left Homestead with a 14-4 record and USM with a 13-7 record. The Highlanders’ next game is Saturday at Sheboygan. The Wildcats travel to western Wisconsin to face Sparta in a 7 p.m. clash on Friday. They then go to Onalaska for an afternoon game on Saturday.