MADISON — Simply devastated.
That could best describe the feeling of the Sun Prairie boys hockey team following Tuesday’s 3-2 overtime loss to Madison Edgewood in a WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal played at LaBahn Arena.
Andrew Budzinski’s goal 1 minute, 21 seconds into overtime gave the second-seeded Crusaders (21-4-1) their second win of the season over the No. 3 Cardinals (18-7-0). Edgewood will play top-seeded Verona in Saturday’s sectional championship.
“It’s not the way we envisioned it,” said Sun Prairie interim head coach Troy Giesegh. “These guys have heart, they had battle and they did everything we asked them to do coming into the playoffs; they worked their tails off day-in and day-out and I could not be any prouder than I am right now.”
Sun Prairie and Edgewood played to a 2-2 draw through three periods, leading to an 8-minute overtime. But it didn’t take long for the Crusaders to win in sudden death when Budzinski scored just his second goal of the season.
Giesegh had a good view of the goal and what led up to it.
“The shot came from the right dot and (Alex) Liegel kicked it out with a save. We tried chipping it out and didn’t necessarily get it out of the zone and their defenseman steps up — we had a guy trying to block the shot — and from my perspective it may have touched (our) skate which caused the puck to flutter. Alex was looking for a straight-on shot, not one to the upper corner.”
Held scoreless the first period the Cardinals evened the score with 3:44 left in the second period as senior forward Ryan Batterman knocked in a rebound.
Sun Prairie then took its first lead of the night on sophomore forward Davis Hamilton’s 11th goal of the season. Hamilton and senior Kaden Brunson had a 2-on-1 breakaway which led to Brunson feeding Hamilton who beat Crusaders goalie Zach Walker on a short-range wrister just 1:02 into the final period.
Edgewood evened the score 5 ½ minutes later when senior forward Drew Lenz found the SP net.
Both teams were penalized six times for 12 minutes.
“I commend both units on penalty kills, no goals were scored on power plays, all goals were scored even strength,” Giesegh said. “At least special teams didn’t play a part in it.”
The loss was the second of the season to Edgewood, which beat the Cardinals by a much bigger 6-1 score in mid-January,
“The results being the same (when you lose) is never fun,” Giesegh said.
THANK YOU SENIORS
The sectional loss meant the end of the careers of nine Sun Prairie seniors: Liegel, Batterman, Brunson, Logan Smith, Jake Rauls, Carter Watters, Travin Egli, Tyler Carpiaux and Jake Veldkamp.
“We’ve lost 17 seniors the last two years,” said Giesegh. “It’s tough to see them go, they’ve all meant a lot to the program.”
In late December Giesegh replaced Chris Finkler as head coach, which meant the team had to adjust.
“They rolled with it,” said Giesegh. “That’s a true testament to their character and their ability to go with the flow at times. I think that’s also a testament to them getting mentally stronger and tougher and becoming young men. That’s what we’re here for: to improve them as individuals and student-athletes and growing them for the future.”
Whether or not Giesegh will be the full-time head coach next season is still unknown.
“There has been no discussion between the athletic director (Eric Nee) and myself. We talked to each other when the change happened and we just waited to see how the season played out,” he said.
MADISON EDGEWOOD 3
SUN PRAIRIE 2 (OT)
Sun Prairie 0 1 1 0 — 2
Edgewood 1 0 1 1 — 3
First period: ME — Smith (D. Lenz), 12:31.
Second period: SP — Batterman (un), 13:16.
Third period: SP — Hamilton (Brunson, Watters), 1:02; ME — D. Lenz (Smith, Murn), 6:26.
Overtime: ME — Budzinski (Fink, Menzel), 1:21.
Saves: SP (Liegel) 38; ME (Z. Walker) 22.