State boys hockey: Superior advances to Wisconsin championship game
MADISON -- Superior goaltender Peyton Flanders couldn't have picked a better time to play the best game of his life. The senior not only recorded his first career shutout, but he also picked up his first assist to lead the Spartans to a 3-0 victo...
MADISON - Superior goaltender Peyton Flanders couldn’t have picked a better time to play the best game of his life.
The senior not only recorded his first career shutout, but he also picked up his first assist to lead the Spartans to a 3-0 victory over Cedarburg Friday night in the semifinals of the Wisconsin high school boys hockey state tournament at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
“It’s a great feeling,” Flanders said. “I was pressured at times, but the guys were playing well in front of me the whole game. We didn’t know anything about Cedarburg going in, but we knew we had to play well to win.”
Daniel Burger scored a first-period goal and Jesse Polson and Matt Hinaus scored into empty nets to give the Spartans (13-15-1) a berth in today’s championship game against Wausau West (22-4-3) at approximately 2:30 p.m.
“This is a great feeling, especially because I have 10 seniors that I love on this team,” Superior coach Jason Kalin said. “I’m happy for them; they’ve battled all season long. We don’t have the greatest record in the world, but we fought against some of the best teams in Minnesota and Wisconsin to get where we’re at.
“I’m pleased that we’re able to represent Superior in the championship game.”
Flanders finished with 14 saves for Superior.
“Peyton played an awesome game,” Kalin said. “He didn’t see a lot of pucks, but was stellar on the ones that got to him. He’s been stellar all year and he’s our go-to guy.”
Burger’s fourth goal of the season gave Superior a 1-0 lead 10:49 into the first period.
Anthony Bronson started the play when he dumped the puck for a line change. Cedarburg goaltender Matt McCoy stopped the puck and left it behind his goal for a teammate. But before his defenseman could reach it, Burger snuck past him and put his wrap-around in off McCoy’s skate.
“Anthony did a good job of getting the puck deep,” Burger said. “I just came off the bench and went in to forecheck and the goalie kind of set it up for me. When I picked up the puck and circled behind, I saw he wasn’t in the net and just tried to throw it off him, and luckily it did.
“It feels great, just getting the opportunity to play in a state championship game. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
The Spartans, who outshot the Bulldogs 15-6 in the first period, also had an 8-4 advantage in a scoreless second period.
The Spartans successfully killed off their third penalty of the game and then were able to take a sigh of relief when Polson shot the puck the length of the ice into an empty net with 1:15 remaining.
“They tried to ring it around the boards and Flanders stopped it and passed it to me,” Polson said. “I had a clear lane and just let it go. It felt great, just knowing we secured a spot in the title game.”
Superior wasn’t done yet as Hinaus scored his seventh goal of the season into an empty net with 23.7 seconds left.
“We got ourselves into penalty trouble and made it an interesting game,” Kalin said. “Our penalty kill unit came up huge for us today, but we’re going to have to clean that up because (our next) opponent isn’t going to let us off the hook.”
Superior hasn’t been in the title game since losing to Fond du Lac 3-1 in 2007.
The Spartans won their last state championship in 2005 when Luke Mertz scored in overtime to give Superior a 2-1 win over Arrowhead.
“This is where we like to be – it’s been a long time,” Kalin said.
-- Superior leads in most state championships with 12 in 23 title game appearances, and is now 59-24 in state tournament games. … The Spartans defeated Janesville Craig/Parker 4-2 in Thursday’s quarterfinals. … Cedarburg was playing in just its second state tournament. The Bulldogs lost in the quarterfinals in 2011.
First Period: 1. SHS, Daniel Burger 4 (Anthony Bronson 7), 10:49.
Second Period: No scoring.
Third Period: 2. SHS, Jesse Polson 5 (Peyton Flanders 1), 15:45 (en). 3. SHS, Matt Hinaus 7, 16:37 (en).
Saves: Matt McCoy, CHS, 14-8-6-28. Peyton Flanders, SHS, 6-4-4-14.