Hockey Cards survive, advance

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Middleton's hockey team edged Verona, 3-2, in double overtime of a sectional semifinal Tuesday night./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

One step from state.

That’s where Middleton’s hockey team finds itself after defeating Verona, 3-2, in double overtime in a sectional semifinal Tuesday night. Troy Reifsteck had the game-winning goal in the second overtime on assists from Preston Lewis and Garrett Graf.

The top-seeded Cardinals now face second-seeded Madison Edgewood in a sectional final Saturday at 7 p.m. at Sun Prairie Ice Arena.

The state tournament is March 3-5 at the Alliant Energy Center. Middleton will be trying to reach the state tournament for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2011.

Middleton’s win over fourth-seeded Verona marked the third time this season the Cardinals slayed the Wildcats. Middleton also toppled the Wildcats, 3-1, on Jan. 9, and 4-1 on Feb. 11.

“I thought at the end of the day, we were the better conditioned team, which ultimately when you go to double overtime is a huge factor in the win,” Middleton coach Steffon Walby said. “Verona really played hard, and they had a really solid game plan to compete with us.”

The Wildcats most certainly did.

Verona scored an even strength goal at 5:40 of the first period to take an early 1-0 lead. But the Cardinals answered when Griffin Gussel scored on assists from Justin Engelkes and Jordan Hylbert at 6:46 to tie the game, 1-1.

Middleton took a 2-1 lead at 7:20 of the second period when Reifsteck had an even strength goal. Davis Bunz assisted on the play.

But Verona tied the game, 2-2, at 9:59 of the second period, and the teams eventually headed to overtime.

“The coaching staff didn’t have to say much in between the periods,” Walby said. “That’s where the seniors and our captains really showed a lot of leadership by taking the room over.”

That was apparent in the second overtime, when Reifsteck played hero. Cardinals goalie Tony Wuesthofen picked up the win after notching 28 saves.

“Hopefully a win like that will allow the boys to settle in and create an even bigger hunger for success on Saturday,” Walby said.

Middleton reached the sectional semifinals following a 5-0 win over Monona Grove in last Friday’s regional final. The Cardinals got goals from five different players, while Wuesthofen notched the win.

“The game against Monona Grove was more of a formality,” Walby said. “We were able to roll all four lines and our depth ultimately prevailed.”

Middleton’s Casey Harper struck first, scoring on assists from Hylbert and Gussel to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead just 5:14 into the game. Engelkes pushed Middleton’s lead to 2-0 with a goal at 7:48 on assists from Jake Livesy and Nolan Kouba.

Bunz had a power play goal midway through the second period that gave Middleton a 3-0 lead. Livesy and Harper assisted on the goal.

Alex Nisbet pushed Middleton’s lead to 4-0 at 4:30 of the second period. Bunz and Harper assisted on the play.

Livesy then capped the scoring at 10:59 of the third period. Ross Johnson and Wes Rock both had assists on the goal.

“I’ve got to hand it to Monona Grove,” Walby said. “They hung in there a lot longer than what I thought they would. Hats off to the coaching staff for having them prepared.”


Feb. 19

Middleton 5, Monona Grove 0

Monona Grove …………. 0 0 0 — 0

Middleton ………………… 2 1 2 — 5

First period: M — Harper (Hylbert) , 6:23; M — Engelkes (Livesey), 8:06.

Second period: M — Bunz (PP), 8:55.

Third period: M — Nisbet (Bunz, Engelkes), 4:30; M — Livesey (Johnson, Rock), 10:59.

Saves: MG (Nahirniak) 40; M (Wuesthofen) 14.



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