Hockey Cards a perfect 4-0

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel

One quarter of their season is complete.

They have dominated every foe and passed every test.

If you’re a Middleton hockey fan, there’s a lot to like right now.

The Cardinals improved to 6-0 last week with a pair of impressive conference wins. Middleton rolled past Janesville, 7-1, last Tuesday, then drilled Beloit Memorial, 5-1, last Saturday.

Middleton has won its first six games by a combined score of 34-9.

“The coaching staff is very pleased with our quick start,” Middleton coach Steffon Walby said. “In all fairness, we have allowed the team to pick up where they left off last year. The seniors have had a great attitude and a hunger that has helped. The underclassmen have certainly followed the senior’s examples.
“Tony Wuesthofen has been solid in net, and we have played great team defense in front of him. Special teams have been better than last year, and we have found the scoring touch early on.”

Middleton certainly had the touch during its two games in Rock County last week.

During the Cardinals’ win over Janesville, Keaton Shaw and Casey Harper had first period goals as Middleton raced to a 2-0 lead. Janesville struck just 1:20 into the second period, but the Cardinals finished the period strong.

First, Jordan Hylbert scored at 6:55 on assists from Harper and Colin Butler. Then Harper scored on assists from Davis Bunz and Hylbert as Middleton surged to a 4-1 lead.

The Cardinals continued to pile it on in the third period.

First, Hylbert scored on assists from Harper and Butler to make it 5-1. Jake Feldt scored on an assist from Butler, then Griffin Gussell scored on an assist from Justin Engelkes.

Wuesthofen notched the win in goal. But Middleton’s defense was sublime, and the goalie needed to make just 10 saves.

“We caught Janesville on their opening night,” Walby said. “You could tell that a few kids were nervous and really didn't get settled in. We buzzed them pretty good and looked like a team that had a few games under our belt.

“They will certainly be a better team than what our score indicated. Our penalty kill was solid and our ability to get pucks to the net and having a relentless pursuit allowed us to sustain a better attack longer.”

Middleton was back on the attack during its win over Beloit.

Bunz notched a hat trick, while Nolan Kouba and Jake Livesy both added goals.

The Purple Knights struck first with a goal just 24 seconds into the game. But Middleton answered with two goals before the first period was over.

Bunz had a power play goal midway through the first period on assists from Harper and Kouba that tied the game, 1-1. Then Kouba scored an even strength goal late in the period on an assist from Engelkes to give the Cardinals a 2-1 lead.

Bunz scored a power play goal just 1:05 into the second period on an assist from David Vodenlich. Then Livesy had a goal three minutes later on an assist from Feldt to make it 4-1.

Bunz notched his third goal at 4:46 of the third period on assists from Hylbert and Engelkes.

Vodenlich, making his first start in net, earned the win.

“We actually took them for granted a little bit,” Walby said. “David Vodelinch got his first varsity start in net, and let his first shot go by him. We had a handful of JV players playing, as well, and when they scored on us the very first shift it woke us up.

“We got back to our game plan and definitely overpowered them and outchanced them as the game went on. Beloit is a good, young team that is very effective 5-on-5. They got into trouble when we got the man advantage. With the score being in our favor, we were able to play all of our lines and the JV kids got great game experience.”

Overall, Walby couldn’t be happier with the Cardinals’ start, but he’s also reminded his team the season has just begun.

“All in all, with the schedule that we have had, we have been tested and challenged very well,” Walby said. “I still think the meat and potatoes of the schedule is yet to come. With that being said a quarter of the season is over and the last time I checked you have to play a full season before you can get really excited.”

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