The Hudson boys’ hockey team played fast and physical on its way to a 6-2 victory over Green Bay Notre Dame in a WIAA Division 1 state semifinal Thursday night, Feb. 18, in Hudson, while Somerset came up short to St. Mary’s Springs, 5-1, in a Division 2 state semifinal in Fond du Lac.
Hudson’s victory sends them to the state title game for the sixth time in school history while Somerset’s season ended in the state semifinals for the second straight season.
The Raiders will face defending state champion Verona, 5-1 winners over University School of Milwaukee, in the Division 1 state championship game Saturday, Feb. 20, at approximately 2:30 p.m. at South Wood County Rink in Wisconsin Rapids.
Thursday night in Hudson, the second-seeded Raiders scored the final five goals of the game to defeat the third-seeded Tritons 6-2. Hudson scored twice in the second period to take a 3-2 lead before icing the game with three more goals in the third.
Notre Dame was whistled for a pair of penalties just over a minute apart early and Hudson made them pay when Zach Kochendorfer scored on the 5-on-3 advantage just over three minutes into the game with assists from Matthew Mauer and Brody Dietz.
The lead was short-lived though as Notre Dame’s Hunter Bill tied it up on the Tritons’ first shot of the game two minutes later and Notre Dame took a 2-1 lead on a goal by Brandon Poshak at the 13 minute mark.
Kochendorfer struck again 4:29 into the second period when he squeezed the puck between Notre Dame goalie Xander Roberts and the right post to tie the score and Alex Pottratz put the Raiders up for good off a nifty feed from Hunter Danielson just 31 seconds later after Bryce Handberg delivered a big hit to gain control of the puck along the left circle.
The Raiders kept up the pressure in the third period and took a 4-2 lead at the 3:20 mark when Ben Parent carried the puck behind the net and flipped it over Roberts’ left shoulder as he skated back out front. Just over a minute later with Notre Dame on the power play, Parent poked the puck away from a Triton attacker in the neutral zone and Handberg turned it into a shorthanded breakaway goal to extend the Raider lead to 5-2. Nick Jilek made the final 6-2 when he chipped in a Max Giblin pass from behind the net with 3:52 remaining.
Hudson goalie Alex Ripplinger finished with 10 saves as the Raiders outshot the Tritons 25-12, including 9-2 in the decisive third period.
Somerset falls to defending champs
Fourth-seeded Somerset couldn’t keep up with No. 1 ranked and defending Division 2 state champion St. Mary’s Springs in a 5-1 loss to the Ledgers Thursday night on Fond du Lac.
Noah Bailey’s unassisted goal at the 5:42 mark of the second period tied the score but St. Mary’s Springs took a 2-1 lead after two and scored three more goals in the third to punch their return ticket to the state title game. The Ledgers finished with a 57-11 advantage in shots on goal, including 24-4 in the third period.
Somerset goalie Kaleb Bents finished with 52 saves as the Spartans’ season ended in the state semifinals for the second straight year.