The University School boys hockey team defeated Waconia High School of Waconia, Minnesota 3-0 Saturday afternoon in the consolation game of the 24th annual Bob Nelson Hockey Tournament at Blake School in Hopkins, Minnesota.
USM’s goaltender Bryan Botcher made 33 saves as he recorded his first shutout of the season in the game, and each of USM’s three captains scored a goal to lead the team to victory.
Coach Cal Roadhouse was happy with the Wildcats’ efforts. “We played a solid game; the guys really stepped up after our tough overtime loss last night,” he said, “Bryan played well today, and we got some scoring from our defensemen. Our penalty killing was very good also. It’s always nice to take a win out of the state of hockey.”
The Wildcats scored their first goal midway through the second period. As he and line mates cycled the puck in the Waconia zone, Ben Hrabak gained control of the puck near the top of the right circle. He passed it to co-defenseman Ryan Revolinski at the right point. Like a specials ops sniper, Revolinski fired a shot into the upper far side of the net bedazzling Waconia’s goalie Nathan Kovach at 11:05.
USM’s next two goals were both scored while the Wildcats were shorthanded. The first came at 3:54 of the second period. Forechecking, Steven Swanson intercepted a pass near the Waconia blue line. He tapped the puck to Ben Walker who moved up from his support position. Walker skated the puck a round a defender and headed toward the Waconia crease. He made a move to deke Kovach. As he did, the goalie knocked the puck from his stick. The puck flipped on its side, and, like a tire that had fallen off a truck, it slowly rolled across the goal line and into the net.
The Wildcats tallied their final goal on a spectacular individual penalty-killing effort by defenseman Joey Judge. Judge knocked the puck away from an oncoming Waconia skater at the USM blue line. He pulled it around another Waconia player and raced toward the Waconia end. At the blue line he moved past another Waconia player and skated into the zone. As he approached Kovach, he pulled the puck to his backhand, drawing the goalie to the left. Judge then shifted to the right and like a dependable mailman he slotted the puck inside the right goalpost at 12:06 of the third period.
The victory improved USM’s official record to 2-0-2. The Wildcats hit the road again on Friday for a weekend in Wausau. They play at D.C. Everest High School Friday night at 7:30 p.m. then face Wausau West at 3:00 p.m. Saturday at the Marathon County Ice Arena.