The last appearance for the Somerset boys hockey seniors on their home ice was one they aren't likely to forget.
The Spartans erupted for a season-high nine goals in defeating the Northwest Icemen in the opening round of the WIAA regional tournament last Tuesday. The 9-2 win advanced the Spartans to last Thursday's regional finals. That's where they faced Hudson, the top-ranked boys team in Wisconsin. Hudson won that game 9-0 to end Somerset's season. The Spartans finish the season with a 6-20 overall record.
The win against the Icemen was a relief for the Spartans, who have gone through a substantial rebuilding process this season. The Spartans led 2-1 after the first period on Tuesday. They allowed a goal with 40 seconds remaining after controlling the action through most of the period.
In the second period, the Spartans broke out like they never have this season. They put 18 shots on goal and six of them got past the Icemen's goaltender. The six goals is a season-high for one period for the Spartans. Somerset added one goal in the third period to finish out the 9-2 win.
The nine goals smashed the team's best goal-scoring performance. The previous high goal total this season for the Spartans was five in a 5-2 win over River Falls Dec. 9.
Somerset junior Jack Peterson had the biggest game of his career against the Icemen. He finished the night with four goals and three assists. His seven points ties the Somerset team record for points in a game. He ties Chad Schmit, Brock Montpetit and Adam McMurray, who previously had notched seven points in one game for the Spartans.
Peterson finishes the season as Somerset's leading scorer with 47 points, on 25 goals and 22 assists. Peterson now has 104 career points, which ties him with Jesse Brown and Alex Lahde for eighth place in the team's all-time scoring list. Adam Marty holds the team record for points with 173. Marty plays collegiately at Bethel University. As a sophomore, Marty has played in every Bethel game this season.
Eli Tuttle and Dominic Abbott both scored twice in the game, with Jackson Haukom notching one goal. Senior Elliot Olin notched his first career point on a second period assist.
"It was a good team effort. The seniors all played well," Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said on the seniors' final home game.
The Spartans knew the odds were hugely stacked against them when they went to Hudson on Thursday. The Raiders scored three goals in each period while the Spartans were limited to two shots per period.
"They were at a different speed than anybody we played all year," Gilkerson said of Hudson.
Gilkerson said he felt the Spartans did a good job of executing their defensive game plan. But with Hudson's ability to keep the puck in Somerset's zone for long stretches, he said it was inevitable that something would give.
Gilkerson said the progress the team made this season sets the foundation for the future. The Spartans could have as many as 14 freshmen entering the program next season.
"We took a step in the right direction with our culture. The one thing we wanted to focus on this season was having the right culture, the right locker room. That bodes well for the future," Gilkerson said.