Illness and injuries limited the Somerset skaters to 11 healthy players for Thursday’s Middle Border Conference game at the Regis-Altoona-McDonell co-op team.

Those 11 skaters stepped up in a big way. The Spartans earned a 5-1 victory, their first win in conference play this season. The Spartans are 7-7 overall this season.

The MBC championship will be determined over the next two weeks. Somerset’s second round of MBC games started Tuesday when the Spartans hosted New Richmond. On the following two Tuesdays, the Spartans will face MBC opponents from Amery and Baldwin-Woodville.

The Spartans were down to eight forwards and three defensemen for Thursday’s game. Several players took advantage of their increase in ice time to score for the Spartans. They included:

Senior Geoffrey Enger scored the first goal of the game on a breakaway. Enger scored his first goal of the season and second of his career;

Sophomore defenseman Corey Rose scored the first goal of his career. His goal completed a three-goal burst by the Spartans in the second period. His goal came on a hard shot from the blue line;

Somerset’s final goal was by Abe Sirek, the second goal of his varsity career. It was the only goal of the third period. Enger and Rose assisted on the goal.

The Spartans outshot RAM 42-15 in the game. Goaltender Kaleb Bents stopped 14 of the 15 shots he faced in the game.

Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said he expected all his players to be healthy for Tuesday’s game against New Richmond. He said the Spartans will up their tempo in practices after New Richmond played fast-paced opponents from Wausau West and Hudson in its most recent games.

The Spartans were also in action Tuesday, losing to Bloomington Kennedy, 2-1. They were also short-handed of players in this game. The Spartans scored first, with Owen McDonough getting a goal 1:57 into the game. Kennedy scored a minute later. The only other goal was scored by Kennedy four minutes into the third period.

Kennedy outshot the Spartans 44-20, but Bents played a stellar game in goal, stopping 42 of Kennedy’s shots.