The Waunakee boys hockey team officially opened its season with three games last week. The Warriors hit the road for games against Bay Port, Kettle Moraine and Whitefish Bay.
“We’re excited to back wearing the Warrior jerseys and representing the ‘Warrior Way’ that coach Olson has instilled in this program,” interim Waunakee coach Kevin Stormer said. “We aren’t able to hang any conference banners, or compete in the Groundhog Tournament and USM tournament, but these Seniors we have really wanted to leave their footprint in the Warrior Hockey program, and continue the tradition that has been built over the last 12 years. We look forward to his return next season, and continue to wish him and his family our best wishes.”
The Warriors traveled to Appleton to face Bay Port on Jan. 19. Waunakee used a big second period to prevail 6-3.
“The game against Bay Port you could see that we hadn’t played a game yet, but we capitalized on our offensive chances,” Stormer said. “We didn’t take many penalties, so it allowed us to get more guys involved in the game. It was nice to get the first win in such a short season, but definitely some things to take away from this game and learn from.”
Last Friday, Waunakee suffered a 6-2 loss to Kettle Moraine in Delafield.
“KMMO has some really good skaters, and they are well coached to use the big sheet of ice to their advantage,” Stormer said. “We weren’t as disciplined. Taking penalties in the offensive zone or on rushes up the ice ended up really costing us. KMMO is a very good team, and has a legitimate chance to get to the semifinals of the WIAA tournament. I think that we could have given them a better game than what we did, though.”
The Warriors bounced back on Saturday and knocked off Whitefish Bay 4-2 at the Pettit Center in Milwaukee.
“The nice thing about our condensed schedule is that we get to move on and figure out what we need to do to compete and win our next game,” Stormer said. “The next day in this case. We need to face some adversity during this regular season, and I think this game provided some for us to overcome. We kept playing hard and playing the right way.”
Waunakee will take on Verona at 7:15 p.m. this Friday at the Appleton Family Ice Center.
The WIAA released its postseason brackets and the Warriors received a No. 5 seed in Division 1. They will face fourth-seeded Onalaska at 5 p.m. at the Omni Center on Feb. 4.
Bay Port 3
Three unanswered goals in the second period lifted the Warriors to the win.
Both teams came away with a goal in the opening period.
Waunakee opened the scoring 3 minutes, 40 seconds into the contest with a goal by Isaac Nett. Luke Reiter had the assist.
Bay Port tied the game eight seconds later with a goal by Samuel Lyons.
Despite being outshot 10-7, the Warriors took control of the game with three goals in the second frame.
Pavel Rettig got things going in 1:42 into the second period with a goal off an assist by Jack Witanen.
Waunakee went up 3-1 at the 7:42 mark of the second stanza with a goal from Daniel Gumley. Rettig earned the assist.
Before the second period came to an end, Rettig put the puck in the net for a second time. Jack Samuelson and Brayden Olstad assisted on the goal.
Rettig completed the hat trick in the third period. His unassisted goal put the Warriors up 5-1.
Bat Port tried to rally with back-to-back goals by Brady Gilbertson and Jay Ribar, but the Warriors added a late insurance goal.
Rettig closed out the scoring with his fourth goal of the game. The empty-net goal came on an assist by Reiter.
Waunakee goalie Logan Walmer came away with 35 saves, while Marcus Niemi had 18 for Bay Port.
Kettle Moraine 6
Kettle Moraine broke open a scoreless game with three unanswered goals in the second period.
Kettle Moraine got on the scoreboard 2:19 into the second period with a goal by Hunter Santos.
Jacob Cartland and Jackson Keller both scored powerplay goals to close out the second period and put Kettle Moraine up 3-0.
Waunakee got back in the game with two goal early in the third period.
David Emerich scored on assists by Eli Cortright and Jordan Bavery 42 seconds into the third.
Nett scored less than a minute later to trim the deficit to 3-2. Emerich had the assist.
However, Kettle Moraine scored the final three goals of the game. Cartland scored each of the final three goals.
Walmer came away with 16 saves in the loss.
Tyler Arnold had 19 saves for Kettle Moraine.
Whitefish Bay 2
The Warriors overcame two deficits to knock off Whitefish Bay.
Whitefish Bay took its first lead early in the first period with a goal by Peter Morell.
Waunakee tied the game 23 seconds into the second period with a goal by McCarthy Reed. Jack Witanen and Erik Mikkelson were credited with assists.
Whitefish Bay regained the lead three minutes later on a powerplay goal by Will O’Connor.
The Warriors put the game away with a dominate performance in the third period. They outshot Whitefish Bay 22-1 and scored three unanswered goals.
Witanen tied the game less than two minutes into the third period, thanks to an assist by Cade Jakacki.
Emerich used an assist by Reed to score a powerplay goal less than a minute later.
Nett closed out the scoring late in the third period. The goal came off of assists by Rettig and Reed.
Walmer preserved the victory with 14 saves.
Max Green had 43 saves for Whitefish Bay.