Hockey seasons can be long. Teams need to avoid getting too high and getting too low. The Bears are no different and after a mid-season 8 game winning streak, the boys went into Friday night’s game against WNS on a 3 game losing streak. The Bears needed to right the ship and their special teams answered the call to carry the Bears to a 5-1 victory in their final Northshore Conference contest of the season.
The special teams were called on just a minute and half into the game when Casey Fisher (Germantown) was called for interference. The penalty kill team did not disappoint and was able to kill off WNS’ man advantage with minimal opportunities for the Storm. After a Bears powerplay, the penalty kill unit was again called on to kill another Storm man advantage when Gavin Pickett (West Bend West) was sent off for charging. The penalty kill team was again up to the challenge yielding nothing for WNS. At the end of the first, the teams were deadlocked at zero.
The second period brought the powerplay for the Bears to the ice 4 minutes in and again the special teams stole the spotlight. 30 seconds into the Bears man advantage, defenseman Nate Kandel found the back of the net with helpers from Andy Butler (Germantown) and Ethan Coughlin (West Bend West). Just over a minute later, it was again time for the penalty kill to be called on to protect the one goal lead. Peyton Kesselhon (West Bend East) had another idea and turned the Bears penalty kill into an offensive opportunity and beat the WNS tender to extend the Bears lead to two with just under 10 minutes play in the second.
After both teams skated back and forth, WNS finally beat goalie Chris Clement (Slinger) for their 1st tally of the game moving the score to 2-1. The remainder of the period saw the Bears called for 3 infractions again forcing the special teams to play shorthanded. At the end of two, the Bears hung on to their 1 goal lead.
The Bears came out and controlled the 3rd period after killing off another infraction, but had nothing to show. At the 6 minute mark of the 3rd, Casey Fisher buried a rebound in the slot to extend the Bears lead to 3-1. Ian Devenport (West Bend East) and Cam Sullivan (Port Washington) were credited with assists on the Fisher goal and the Bears were determined to slam the door shut on the Storm. Again the Bears played puck control and kept WNS on their heels. Ethan Coughlin took the puck at the point and found a wide open Peyton Kesselhon near the net for the Bears 4th goal of the contest.
The special teams was called on to close out this contest once and for all. The Bears 10th powerplay of the game yielded their 5th goal when Ethan Coughlin pounced on a loose puck and slammed it past the Storm goalie. Will Oppermann (West Bend East) and Andy Butler were credited with assists on the Coughlin tally.
When the horned sounded, the Bears special teams were credited with two powerplay goals, one shorthanded goal, and kept the Storm 0 for 9 on their man advantages. In a game that saw 20 infractions whistled on both teams combined, goalie Chris Clement stopped 26 of 27 shots. The Bears added 48 shots for the game. They finish their Northshore Conference schedule with a record of 3-3.
The Bears start the final stretch of their season on Tuesday, January 30th at 7:00pm in Beaver Dam against the Golden Beavers before heading home for a final 3 game home stand at the KMIC starting on Tuesday, February 6th at 5:00pm against Beloit. Their last two games will be Friday, February 9th at 7:00pm versus Green Bay and Saturday, February 10th at 7:00pm against Marquette.