Notre Dame hockey wins nail-biter over Ashwaubenon
By Murray Gleffe
ASHWAUBENON – Survive and move on.
It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Notre Dame Academy hockey team held on to defeat Ashwaubenon 2-1 in a Fox River Classic Conference game Jan. 4 at the Cornerstone Community Ice Center.
“We got casual and mismanaged pucks in the second period,” Notre Dame Head Coach Cory McCracken said. “One positive was our power kill tonight. Our back end stood out and kept the game simple. We have some talented players who need to figure it out on the power play. We hung onto pucks way too long. A win is a win. We’ll continue to learn and be ready for our game Friday.”
The Jaguars opened the game looking the fresher of the two squads.
Six minutes into the contest, Cooper Routheau had a golden chance for the Jaguars but was turned away at the last second by Tritons goaltender Addison Tyczkowski.
“(Tyczkowski) made some nice saves tonight,” McCracken said. “We’ve played all three goaltenders we have on the roster this season. They’re young and trying to earn minutes by getting better in practice.”
Midway through the first period, Bryce Eberhardt took a pass from Brenden Gruber at the blue line and made two stellar moves before finding the open net to give Notre Dame a 1-0 lead.
With about six minutes left in the first period, it appeared Ashwaubenon was going to go on the power play, but Preston Winkler was whistled for an infraction after a melee on the far boards.
With even ice, Notre Dame (6-3-2 overall, 2-0 FRCC) struck 30 seconds later when Hunter Bill went top shelf for a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
“We took advantage of the situation,” McCracken said. “(Bill) made a nice play to finish.”
The Jaguars (11-3, 2-2) brought intensity and emotion into the second period as they pulled within one goal at the 7:24 mark when Teig Driessen stuffed home his own rebound.
Down the stretch of the middle period, Ashwaubenon killed off a 5-on-3 penalty to trail 2-1 entering the final 17 minutes.
In the first minute of the third period, Routheau put a shot on goal that danced around the crease before the play was blown dead by the lead official.
The crew came together and said it wasn’t a goal.
With about eight minutes remaining, the Jaguars had one final power play.
During the two-minute attack, Driessen sent a cross to Caden Van Duyse who narrowly missed the net on his blast from in tight.
As it did in the second period, Ashwaubenon shot itself in the foot by receiving interference and unsportsmanlike penalties with 4:43 left.
The Jaguars again killed off the Tritons’ two-man advantage but couldn’t capitalize in the final minute with an extra skater on the ice.
“There are many parts about this team I like,” McCracken said. “However, we haven’t strung a full 51-minute game together. We have to get back to the thought process of getting pucks in front of the net and not be so perimeter based on the ice.”