Another banner for the Ice Pond could be within their reach.
Avenging an earlier loss to Baraboo/Portage has put the Waunakee High School boys’ hockey team in good position for a third Badger North Conference title in five years.
Going on the road, the Warriors upended the Thunderbirds 4-2, as Chevy Ford scored a hat trick for Waunakee.
“They’re a rough-and-tumble team,” said Warrior coach Eric Olson. “We played really physical and kept the mommentum from the Groundhog Tournament going.”
At 13-9 overall, the Warriors improved to 5-1 in league play with wins over both Baraboo/Portage and Sauk Prairie at home on Friday.
The only blemish this past week was a 5-4 non-conference overtime loss at the Ice Pond to Middleton on Saturday.
It was the showdown with Baraboo/Portage, however, that had everyone’s attention. The Thunderbirds went into the contest leading the Badger North, having knocked off Waunakee 4-3 on Jan. 10.
The Thunderbirds struck first, taking a 1-0 first-period lead into intermission, but Waunakee lit the lamp twice in the second period and added two more in the third to fend off the Thunderbirds.
Having moved up to the first line with Jacob Thousand and Chevy Ford, following the season-ending injury to Blake Ripley, Parker Elvy added two assists.
Thousand had a goal and two assists, while Ford finished with three goals and an assist.
It was defense that carried the day for Waunakee, as goalie Nick Fellows saved 22 of 24 shots.
The line of Brett Templin, Luc Semandel and Max Larsen did the dirty work.
“They’re not scoring, but they were controlling things on the physical end of the game, which opened things up for Elvy, Thousand and Ford,” said Olson.
On the back end, Jacob Hudecek, Alex Horras, Connor Walsh and Kyle Kattermann presented a stout defense.
Of the senior Katterman, Olson said, “He’s been real steady, the anchor of the defense with his physical play and his steady play.”
That defense helped Waunakee blank Sauk Prairie 7-0, as Ford scored four goals to go along with two assists.
Thousand finished with two goals and three assists, while Elvy notched the other goal for Waunakee and collected two helpers.
On Saturday, the Warriors hosted Middleton, and they broke out on top 2-1 in the first period on goals by Ford and Elvy. Horras assisted on both.
Elvy had Waunakee’s lone second-period goal, but Middleton tallied twice to tie it at 3-3 heading into the third.
After the Cardinals scored at the 12:18 mark to take the lead, Ford found the net three minutes later off an assist from Thousand. However, Jordan Carey’s overtime goal gave Middleton a hard-earned win, despite 36 saves from Fellows.
“Nick has been playing good in goal,” said Olson. “He’s been squaring up to the puck and gaining confidence in net. We had chances in that third period to put up more goals, but weren’t able to do it.”
At the recent seedings meetings, Waunakee was given a seventh seed for the postseason WIAA tournament.
The Warriors have two more regular season games left.
After facing Sauk Prairie on Tuesday, they travel on the road to face Reedsburg/Wisconsin Dells on Thursday in the regular season finale.