WAUPUN — Three, two, one …
No, it’s not New Year’s Eve quite yet — that was the goals by period count for Waupun’s prep boys hockey team, which defeated Evanston (Ill.) 6-2 on Friday in the third-place game of the holiday tournament the Warriors played host to at the Waupun Community Center. Still, Warriors head coach Jason Buchholz had some constructive criticism to offer.
Hey, that’s what coaches do.
“Our team was not playing with a whole lot of intensity throughout this game,” he said. “There were spurts of intensity and when we played with speed and played hard, we were able to control the game, get goals that we needed to get. But our guys didn’t play as crisp as I would like them to play.
“There were some nice shifts out there. But I’d like to see that more consistently throughout the game.”
In other words, this season’s Warriors (9-2) have a pretty high ceiling and Buchholz isn’t satisfied settling for less.
That much became clear following Waupun’s 2-1 overtime loss to Milwaukee Marquette — the 10th-ranked team in the state according to the Wisconsin Prep Hockey coaches poll — Thursday in the Warriors’ opening round game of the tournament.
“We were up (for it) the whole time; every shift guys were going hard. I thought we probably outplayed them quite a bit of that game and we feel that we maybe should have won that game — I think a lot of the kids have that feeling in there,” Buchholz said. “They’re disappointed, but it showed that we’re able to compete with the top teams in the state — and we feel that we are one of the top teams in the state.”
Colin Holz, Waupun’s goals leader (nine) who got shut out in the first two games of the tourney before notching a pair vs. Evanston, agreed with his head coach’s sentiment.
“We were upset. We really feel like we were the better team (vs. Marquette) — we felt like we controlled the entire game. But we realized that you can control 99 percent of the game and still end up losing. So we just figured, forget about it and keep doing what we were doing,” he said. “Just keep doing what we’re doing and the wins will come.”
Holz collected a rebound off a shot by Cam Beek that caromed off the boards and punched it in for a 1-0 lead just 1 minute, 31 seconds into Friday’s contest.
Four minutes later, Tyler Flegner beat a defender one-on-one in the neutral zone and finished off a breakaway with a wrister that made it 2-0.
And a little less than 3 minutes after that, Caleb Baxter collected a loose puck in front of the net and backhanded it in for a 3-0 lead that was all the Warriors would need to skate to victory.
The loss to Marquette meant third place was the best Waupun could muster in the tournament, which the Warriors secured by beating Waunakee 6-3 Thursday night before dropping Evanston.
“It’s our home tournament. We had to come in and take third,” Holz said. “Overall, the whole team, we really just grinded the puck — took away (Evanston’s) space. We knew they only had 11 guys, so we tried to wear them out as much as possible.”
But Buchholz still stresses his team is capable of better than what it’s shown through the first 11 games of 2017-18.
“When we play other teams that we know aren’t quite as skilled as we are or maybe not quite as deep as we are, our guys are kind of laying off,” he said. “And we’re really trying to get it into these guys’ heads that every shift has to be (about) getting into good habits, playing hard and eliminating the penalties that we had today.
“Consistency I don’t think was there today and we took some penalties we probably shouldn’t have. But overall, a win’s a win.”
Beavers drop pair
After opening with a 2-1 win over De Pere/West De Pere on Thursday morning, Beaver Dam suffered a 4-1 loss to Evanston later Thursday and then a 5-1 loss to Badger North Conference rival Waunakee in the fifth-place game Friday.
The Golden Beavers’ record now stands at 5-7 and they’re next in action Thursday vs. Badger North foe Sauk Prairie at the Beaver Dam Family Center Ice Arena.
WAUPUN 6, EVANSTON (ILL.) 2
Evanston 0 1 1 — 2
Waupun 3 2 1 — 1
First period: Waupun — Colin Holz (Cam Beek), 1:31. Waupun — Tyler Flegner (Dylan Sauer, Brayden VandeZande), 5:27. Waupun — Caleb Baxter (Dylan Sauer, Baron Buchholz), 8:18.
Second period: Waupun — Colin Holz (Cam Beek, Carter Flegner), 3:38 (pp). Evanston — Andrew Cousineau (Joe Ebler, Gabriel Rodriguez), 9:53. Waupun — Carter Schramm (Cam Beek, Griffin Levey), 12:17.
Third period: Waupun — Caleb Baxter (Jarrett Buchholz, Baron Buchholz), 2:16. Evanston — Kofi Hopps (Joe Ebler), 7:26 (pp).
Saves: Evanston (Wolner) 20, Waupun (Caleb Sauer) 33. Penalties-minutes: Evanston 3-6, Waupun 10-20.
WAUPUN 6, WAUNAKEE 3
Waunakee 1 0 2 — 3
Waupun 0 4 2 — 6
First period: Waunakee — Mason Ihrke (Tyler Hoffman), 5:51 (pp).
Second period: Waupun — Baron Buchholz (Cam Beek), 8:32. Waupun — Cam Beek, 10:20. Waupun — Carter Flegner (Colin Holz), 12:50 (pp). Waupun — Carter Schramm (Cam Beek, Colin Holz), 14:22 (pp).
Third period: Waunakee — Brennen Pellino (Grant Carlson, Dane Luebke), 0:55. Waupun — Cam Beek (Caleb Baxter, Dylan Sauer), 3:33 (sh). Waupun — Carter Flegner, 8:08 (sh). Waunakee — Mason Ihrke (Dane Luebke, Grant Carlson), 16-22 (pp).
Saves: Waunakee (Hunter Beck) 33, Waupun (Caleb Sauer) 22. Penalties-minutes: Waunakee 6-12, Waupun 9-18.
WAUNAKEE 5, BEAVER DAM 1
Waunakee 2 1 2 — 5
Beaver Dam 0 0 1 — 1
First period: Waunakee — Mason Ihrke (Tyler Hoffman), 11:19. Waunakee — Will Brezenski, 14:50.
Second period: Waunakee — Mason Ihrke (Keegan Ripley), 3:09 (pp).
Third period: Waunakee — Jeremy Werner, 0:53 (pp). Beaver Dam — Jacob Stuebe (Sam VanderHoeven), 11:07. Waunakee — Mason Ihrke (Dane Luebke), 12:25 (pp).
Saves: Waunakee (Hunter Beck) 29, Beaver Dam (Kyle Henning) 32. Penalties-minutes: Waunakee 7-14, Beaver Dam 6-12.
EVANSTON (ILL.) 4, BEAVER DAM 1
Evanston 1 1 2 — 4
Beaver Dam 1 0 0 — 1
First period: Evanston — Isaiah Harlan-Ricketts (Gabriel Rodriguez), 0:44. Beaver Dam — Jay Kirschbaum, 3:19.
Second period: Evanston — Isaiah Harland-Ricketts (Kofi Hopps), 14:19.
Third period: Evanston — Gabriel Rodriguez (Joe Ebler, Andrew Cousineau), 11:26 (pp). Evanston — Isaiah Harlan-Ricketts (Kofi Hopps), 15:41.
Saves: Evanston (Wolner) 38, Beaver Dam (Marshall Goodrich) 20. Penalties-minutes: Evanston 5-10, Beaver Dam 3-6.