Hockey Cardinals gaining momentum

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Will Nesbit and Middleton's hockey team is picking up steam as the postseason nears./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

The postseason has arrived for Middleton’s hockey team.
And the Cardinals are heading in with a little bit of momentum.

Middleton split a pair of games last week against two teams ranked in the top-10 of the state.

The host Cardinals edged No. 8 Northland Pines, 2-1, last Thursday. Middleton then dropped a 6-3 decision at No. 3 Hartland Arrowhead last Saturday.

Middleton then received the No. 6 seed in its sectional and will host 11th-seeded Tomah/Sparta in a regional semifinal Feb. 18 at Capitol Ice Arena at 7 p.m. If Middleton wins there, it would travel to third-seeded Sun Prairie for a regional final on Feb. 20 at 8 p.m.

Verona is the No. 1 seed in the sectional, with Madison Edgewood, Sun Prairie, Sauk Prairie’s co-op and Madison West rounding out the top five.

“Our path through the playoffs will be a tough one,” Middleton assistant coach Derek Ward said. “This team with this many seniors can put together a run in playoffs, but we will have to play together every step of the way. So we are a possible darkhorse. I have coached teams like this before and we can make some noise if we play like we can.”

Middleton certainly took its game up a notch last week, and its win over Northland Pines was its most impressive of the year.

The Cardinals jumped to a 2-0 lead after the first period on a power play goal from Noah Ehrhardt and a shorthanded goal by freshman Garrett Ballweg.

On Ehrhardt’s goal, he fed Blake Kalscheur at the blue line, and Kalscheur sent the puck right back to Ehrhardt. Brian Fruciante then screened the goalie as Ehrhardt attacked and scored.  

Ballweg’s goal came during a penalty kill where he blocked a shot, then scored on a breakaway. 

Middleton killed three penalties in the second period. The Cardinals killed another penalty late in the game, and goalie Noah Hogan was terrific in net as Middleton held on for an impressive win.

“We weren't sure how we would compete against Northland Pines,” Ward said. “They are a fast, hard-working team.”

In Middleton’s loss at Arrowhead, the Cardinals struck midway through the first period on a goal from Alec Inman to take a 1-0 lead. The Warhawks scored the next three goals, before Middleton’s Brooks Kalscheur had an even strength goal at 4:44 of the second period to pull the Cardinals within 3-2.

Arrowhead led, 4-2, after the second period, but Brooks Kalscheur scored again, this time just 15 seconds into the third period to pull the Cardinals within 4-3. But Middleton was held scoreless from there — and the Warhawks added two goals in the final seven minutes to pull away.

Hogan had another strong game in net with 41 saves for Middleton.

“Noah Hogan is playing like he is ready for the playoffs,” Ward said. “We brought the game within a goal a couple of times, but Arrowhead seemed to have all the answers to keep it a two-goal lead. We competed hard throughout, but two penalties in the third was too much to overcome with Arrowhead's strong power play.”

• On deck: Middleton hosted Beloit Memorial Tuesday, then is at Madison East/La Follette at Hartmeyer Thursday at 7:30 p.m. The Cardinals then travel to Sauk Prairie Saturday at 1 p.m., before beginning the postseason by hosting Tomah/Sparta Tuesday at 7 p.m. in a regional semifinal.


Feb. 6


Northland Pines ………….. 0 0 1 — 1

Middleton …………………. 2 0 0 — 2

First period: M — Ehrhardt (Kalscheur), 11:32 (pp); Ballweg, 15:40 (sh).

Third period: NP — Maillette (Schiffmann), 4:24.



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