De Pere hockey beats Ashwaubenon for third time this season
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON — Sometimes, a team simply matches up well against another.
Despite sporting a sub .500 record overall during the regular season, the No. 4-seeded De Pere hockey team swept No. 5 Ashwaubenon all three games this season.
The latter was a 5-3 De Pere win in a WIAA Division 1 playoff game Feb. 5 at the Cornerstone Community Center in Ashwaubenon.
The victory advanced the Voyageurs to sectional play, where they’ll take on No. 1 Notre Dame Academy Tuesday, Feb. 9.
The Tritons advanced with an 8-0 victory over No. 9 Appleton United.
“This team has shown tenacity through various parts of the season,” said JP Coppo, De Pere head coach. “It’s great to see it erupt during playoff time.”
Henry Allen made 16 saves for De Pere, while Lincoln Simons stopped 18 shots for Ashwaubenon in defeat.
Both teams combined for 12 penalties.
The Voyageurs scored first after Grady Coppo jammed home a power-play goal.
Ashwaubenon evened the contest with 10:40 remaining in the first period when Cooper Routheau scored on a put-back after Kole Altergott hit the pipe seconds earlier.
A couple of minutes later, things got physical when a roughing penalty was called after an Ashwaubenon player went face-first into the boards.
With about six minutes remaining in the first, Garrett Foth threaded a blue-line pass to Coppo, who tallied his second goal of the game for a 2-1 lead.
With 10:16 remaining in the second period, Coppo went top-shelf on a nice feed from Tanner Newton to tally a hat trick and a two-goal lead for De Pere.
“The hat trick is great,” said Coach Coppo. “It’s a tribute to him. His fight in the game was cool to see. Everybody did something nice on the ice to contribute to his goals.”
De Pere had 15 seconds to enjoy the cushion before Kole Altergott came flying down the ice for Ashwaubenon and slapped a goal past Allen to narrow the margin to 3-2.
“Kole is a great player,” said Matt Golden, Ashwaubenon head coach. “He had a super season and is fun to watch with his play. He’s gifted and has a strong work ethic, which will open up opportunities for him to play at the next level.”
Near the end of the middle stanza, the Jaguars evened the contest 3-3, as Routheau netted his second goal of the night.
However, seconds later, Teig Driessen took a double-minor penalty for roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Charlie Eggers made Ashwaubenon pay with a crafty wrister past Simons.
De Pere took the 4-3 lead into the final period.
Both teams had numerous opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the last period.
Wyatt Birkholz put the Voyageurs up 5-3 with 5:32 remaining.
With less than three minutes showing on the clock, the Jaguars pulled Simons to bring on an extra attacker but couldn’t find the net.
“We have to control the puck,” Coppo said about facing Notre Dame in the next round. “We have to show good poise and great speed on the Olympic-sized sheet.”
Ashwaubenon: 1, 2, 0 — 3
De Pere: 2, 2, 1 — 5