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Ashwaubenon slips past Bay Port in heated hockey affair

By Murray Gleffe

ASHWAUBENON – Two bitter hockey rivals.

Whenever Ashwaubenon and Bay Port meet, there’s bound to be fireworks.

Dec. 9 was no different, as Ashwaubenon survived to defeat Bay Port 5-4 in a Fox River Classic Conference game at the Cornerstone Community Ice Center.

“We had four wins coming into this game,” Matt Golden, Ashwaubenon Head Coach, said. “This one, though, was against a high-caliber program. The kids are feeling good. Hopefully, it brings us confidence moving forward.”

Ashwaubenon, which had lost five straight to Bay Port coming into the tilt, struck about two minutes into the game when Teig Driessen connected on a power-play goal for a 1-0 lead.

“Sometimes, it’s like men against boys with Teig (Driessen) and Cooper (Routheau) on the ice,” Golden said. “They’re big, fast and strong. They’ve had a super start to the season.”

With 11:17 left in the opener, the Jaguars grabbed a 2-0 lead after Bay Port goalie Devin Rustle couldn’t corral a couple of rebounds.

The Pirates (3-3 overall, 0-1 FRCC) gave up their third penalty in the first 10 minutes of the game when Bryce Strand was sent to the box for holding.

Ashwaubenon (5-1, 2-0) took full advantage.

Caden VanDuyse and Caden Bartelme kept the puck in the Pirates zone before Driessen poked the loose puck into the back of the Bay Port net for a 3-0 advantage heading into the first intermission.

“The power play was working well for us,” Golden said. “We moved the puck and knew we had to jump on them early. Bay Port is a skilled team. We used our speed to our advantage.”

With the Pirates knocking themselves in the foot with first-period penalties, the Jaguars returned the favor 10 seconds into the middle period.

Bay Port capitalized when Nick Voss went coast-to-coast with the puck for a goal, cutting the deficit to 3-1.

With about 13 minutes remaining in the second period, Bay Port took advantage of some 4-on-4 hockey, as Strand beat Ashwaubenon goalie Lincoln Simons to pull the Pirates within 3-2.

However, the momentum was short-lived because Bay Port couldn’t play clean hockey.

Routheau netted a power-play goal for the Jaguars for a 4-2 lead.

As the second period was winding down, tensions began to mount after Noah Brunke’s goal pulled the Pirates to within 4-3 heading into the final period.

With Bay Port twice pulling to within one goal, Ashwaubenon squashed another potential comeback with an early third-period goal by Ryan Gady to bump the lead to 5-3.

As the physicality and nature of the game continued to escalate, the boiling point came with 7:58 remaining.

Driessen was called for boarding after a Bay Port player was knocked out for a split second.

Ashwaubenon’s Will Brunke was also assessed for hooking, setting off a skirmish on the ice and in the stands.

As security and local law enforcement were called to diffuse the situation, the game was delayed by nine minutes, as the events were sorted out in both locations of the arena.

“We took the penalty, and I didn’t see what happened,” Golden said. “I was glad we kept our cool and finished the deal. I thought (Ryan) Gady did some nice things for us. He was a difference-maker.”

With a few minutes remaining, Bay Port’s Sam Lyons tacked on a goal for the final margin.

Ashwaubenon is back on the sheet tonight, Dec. 10, as it travels to Hartland to take on Arrowhead.

Meanwhile, Bay Port travels to Sheboygan Wednesday, Dec. 15.

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