Notre Dame hockey dominates De Pere in FRCC action
By Greg Bates
DE PERE – When the Notre Dame Academy boys’ hockey team has its quick-striking offense clicking, it’s hard to stop.
The Tritons scored a pair of goals in each of the three periods as forward Hunter Bill registered a hat trick in a 6-1, Fox River Classic Conference (FRCC) victory over De Pere Tuesday at the De Pere Ice Arena.
Notre Dame outshot De Pere 48-7 and dominated possession of the puck.
“We dictated the pace of the game, and we played in their end an awful lot,” Notre Dame Head Coach Cory McCracken said. “We generated a ton of scoring chances, but we’ve got to be better at finishing some of those off. We certainly tilted the ice in our favor, and I like our results.”
Bill’s three goals were his first three of the season.
His hat trick — which he capped off with 19 seconds remaining in the game — got his teammates going.
“It was a good enough rush for the boys,” Bill said. “It got us rolling.”
McCracken said he liked what he saw from Bill, a junior who is one of the team leaders this season.
“He took advantage of the things he’s good at,” he said. “He got to the blue paint, played interior for the most part and played like Hunter should play.”
Notre Dame (3-1-1 overall, 1-0 FRCC) needed a couple of minutes into the game to get heated up.
Bill had a breakaway and scored a shorthanded goal 5:18 into the contest.
Thirty-eight seconds later, teammate Isaac Rentmeester lit the lamp to put the visitors up 2-0.
In the second period, the Tritons went back to work.
Travis Pokel, with assists from Bryce Dahl and Joe Gerbitz, went top shelf for a goal at 6:36.
Only 1 minute, 26 seconds later, Bill scored his second of the night off a pass from Callan Budinger, and it was 4-0 midway through the period.
At this point, Voyageurs’ starting goaltender Keegan Handrick, who only faced 16 shots, was replaced by Anton Widas.
With the outcome already decided, the final few minutes of the game was a flurry on both ends.
De Pere got on the scoreboard on an AJ Butrymowicz goal, with an assist from Evan Ott, with 2:15 remaining.
Notre Dame tallied a pair of goals in the final 37.8 seconds — the first by Keegan McCarron and the final goal by Bill to finish off the hat trick.
With the loss, De Pere dropped to 1-5-1.
De Pere Head Coach John Coppo said he hopes his guys learned some lessons in the thumping by a rival.
“The pace of play we need to play at to get at a high level,” he said. “When we came in after the game, that was the message. We need to get better as it goes along – possibly in the immediate because we have Neenah (Saturday). As we get through the Christmas break, we need to keep improving forward. This was the only game so far we haven’t been in. The rest of them have pretty much been one-goal games, and we’ve been competing with everybody we saw. This was a little stab in pride to us, but we’ll recover.”
McCracken said he likes how his team is gelling after a tough overtime loss to Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha Dec. 3.
“I like the way it’s coming together,” he said. “We’ve got to be more thorough in some of the things we’re doing offensively to finish things off. I like our effort and our compete level. We got inside position lots tonight, and that helped our game a ton.”
Sports editor’s note: To read about Ashwaubenon’s 5-4, FRCC victory over Bay Port Dec. 9, CLICK HERE.