Several of this season’s victories by the McFarland High School boys hockey team have been easy, but the Badger South Conference game Jan. 9 against red-hot Monroe was quite the challenge.
The Cheesemakers, which began their program in 2012-13 and won eight games last season, the highest number in team history, entered the contest against the Spartans with 12 wins in its first 13 games and a 4-0 record in the league.
Yet, seniors Jack Bartzen and Jack McGinn scored goals in the final 2:32 of the second period to give visiting McFarland a 4-3 win.
After a scoreless first period, the Spartans scored at 3:10 of the second period as senior Grant Newcomer tallied off a Bartzen assist. Monroe took the lead on goals by Luke Kuberski and Cooper Dreyfus with 10 minutes remaining in the second period, but senior Max Binger fought back to tie the game at 7:53 with the assists going to sophomores Chase Quelle and Simeon Pommerening.
The game stayed tied for another 40 seconds before Monroe’s Hayden Roth found the back of the net to put the Cheesemakers on top 3-2.
But Bartzen scored a power-play goal at 14:28 off an assist from Pommerening, and McGinn netted what turned out to be the game winner at 16:42 with Newcomer getting the assist.
The third period was scoreless but not easy for the Spartans, which had to kill off two separate minor penalties to preserve the lead.
McFarland senior goaltender Gus Hoel saved 33-of-36 shots. Heath Bear made 36 saves in the net for Monroe.
It was the third one-goal victory for McFarland this season.
The Spartans won the season opener 3-2 at DeForest and topped Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells 6-5 during last month’s Monk’s Cheeseburger Classic in Wisconsin Dells.
Spartans 7, Milton 2
Bryce Flemming had one goal and four assists to lead the McFarland High School boys hockey team to a 7-2 win over visiting Milton on Jan. 7.
The Spartans jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period on a power-play goal by Pommerening and an even-strength score by Newcomer.
The Red Hawks cut the gap to 2-1 less than four minutes into the second period on a power play goal, but tallies by Flemming, Carson Lehnherr and Newcomer put the Spartans ahead 5-1 with 5:05 remaining. Milton scored its second goal about a minute later, but was shutout the rest of the way as Jack McGinn and Jack Bartzen found the back of the net in the third period.
Aside from Flemming, Binger had two assists and Newcomer, Bartzen, Ashton Wendt, Cal DeChambeau and Pommerening also had helpers.
McFarland had 51 shots on goal with Milton goaltender Luke Grote saving 44.
Hoel stopped 15-of-17 shots by the Red Hawks.
McFarland plays at Badger South Conference foe Oregon Thursday Jan. 16 with the faceoff scheduled for 7 p.m.