With the Beaver Dam and Waupun boys hockey teams no longer having a conference rivalry at stake, the Golden Beavers-Warriors games going forward might not have had as much meaning as past meetings.
But it sure didn’t look that way on the ice and it didn’t sound that way in the stands on Tuesday night.
It was chippy all night between former Badgerland Conference foes, and fans had something to cheer about all game long, whether it was goals scored or an opposing player getting lit up by a big hit.
But it was Waupun fans who cheered at the end, as the Warriors got the best of the Golden Beavers 3-2.
“Obviously, if this was a conference game, it’s going to mean a little bit more because of the standings in that sense,” Waupun head coach Jason Buchholz said. “Being it’s Beaver Dam in a rivalry type game, obviously, we want to come out on top.”
The Warriors trailed 2-1 going into the third period before rallying for the victory.
Beaver Dam goaltender Marshall Goodrich blocked a shot by Waupun’s Carter Flegner 8:35 into the period, but the rebound went directly to Collin Holz, who poked the puck into an open net to tie the game at 2.
Almost 3 minutes later, Waupun’s Jarrett Buchholz made some slick moves past three Beavers and backhanded a shot past Goodrich for a 3-2 lead.
“I wasn’t expecting to score,” said Buchholz, who was injured for half the year last year and has already scored three points this season. “I just fired up the ice and put it in.
“It was a big comeback. We didn’t let up. I just put one in for the boys.”
Waupun scored three unanswered goals after giving up a pair in the first period.
“It’s a learning experience playing with the lead,” Beaver Dam head coach Chris Huebel said. “You’ve got to give Waupun credit; they came back and chipped away and were able to take the lead in the third. … That’s a good team.
“I thought there were times where we kind of sat back a little bit, but we will definitely learn from it. It does hurt.”
The first period was all Golden Beavers with some shifty moves that allowed them to build a two-goal lead. On a 2-on-1 breakaway, Brock Brendemihl made a pass just over a Waupun player’s stick to Ben Cremers, who scored on a one-timer just over Waupun goaltender Caleb Sauer’s blocker 7:40 into the first period.
“In the first period, we were kind of sitting back too much,” Jason Buchholz said. “I think we were gliding and reaching for the puck.”
About 5 minutes later, Sam Strasser made an incredible backward pass in front of Sauer to Jay Kirschbaum, who found the back of the net with a wrist shot to make it 2-0.
“I didn’t think Caleb knew he was going to shoot that quick,” Huebel said. “He obviously did.”
Waupun got one goal back on a second-period power play. Bradyn Vande Zande took a couple whacks at the puck before he got it to go past Goodrich with 6:35 remaining.
“We did turn it around in the second period,” Jason Buchholz said. “In the second and third period, we were definitely beating them to the puck a lot more. We had two hands on the stick and being strong with it instead of reaching out there with our feet not moving.
“Definitely, the momentum changed in the second period even before we scored that first goal in the second period. I think the momentum shifted. We were really putting a lot of pressure on them in their zone.”
Both goalies had their work cut out for them from the start.
Sauer had 24 saves, while Goodrich finished with 39, including a diving stop as time expired in the second period to preserve the Beavers’ lead at the time.
“I’ve got to hand it to their goalie, he was making some acrobatic saves,” Jason Buchholz said. “There were some amazing glove saves out there.
“He really kept them in it, in that second period with him only giving up one goal where we had multiple opportunities to put the puck into the net. He just denied us.”
WAUPUN 3, BEAVER DAM 2
Waupun 0 1 2 — 3
Beaver Dam 2 0 0 — 2
First period: BD — Ben Cremers (Brock Brendemihl), 7:40. BD — Jay Kirschbaum (Sam Strasser, Sam Vanderhoeven), 12:02.
Second period: W — Bradyn Vande Zande (Carson Schramm), 10:25 (pp).
Third period: W — Collin Holz (Carter Flegner, Carter Schramm), 8:35. W — Jarrett Buchholz, 11:07.
Penalties: W 3-6, BD 3-6. Saves: W (Caleb Sauer) 24, BD (Marshall Goodrich) 39.