Somerset hockey successful in prepping for playoffsProving themselves playoff-ready was an important step for the Somerset hockey team last week.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Proving themselves playoff-ready was an important step for the Somerset hockey team last week.
The Spartans wanted to prove, to themselves perhaps more than anyone else, that they were ready to be a factor entering the WIAA hockey playoffs this week. By beating Altoona 5-0 and the Eau Claire Regis co-op team 8-3, the Spartans took the strides they needed to be ready.
The playoffs were scheduled to begin on Tuesday night, with Somerset hosting Barron. The winner of Tuesday’s game will play at New Richmond at 7 p.m. on Thursday in the WIAA regional finals.
Altoona and Regis were obvious comparables for the Spartans, because both teams had beaten Barron by one goal this season. The Spartans weren’t overpowering in the first period of either of last week’s games, but they completely ruled the second period of both games.
The Spartans and Altoona were scoreless after a period last Tuesday. Somerset then broke the game open with four goals in less than nine minutes in the second period.
Regis tied the Spartans 2-2 in the first period on Thursday. The Spartans opened fire on the Ramblers in the second period, scoring four straight goals. They added two more in the third period before the Ramblers scored with 27 seconds left in the game.
Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said the Spartans seem to use the first period for “feeling out” opponents, but said better opponents might not give them that much time to get rolling.
In the win over Altoona, it was a shot from the point by senior defenseman Jesse Anderson that got the Spartans rolling. Sophomore Reed Kelly followed Anderson’s goal with two quick scores. Freshman Reed Baillargeon added the fourth goal of the period.
The only goal of the third period was scored by Kelly, completing his hat trick, his first multiple-goal game of the season.
Against Regis, Jesse Brown and Baillargeon scored in the first period, but Regis answered with a goal each time.
The Ramblers didn’t have an answer for the Spartans’ second period onslaught. Power play goals from Zach Dybedahl and Alex Mikl started the charge, with Robbie Flom scoring twice late in the period.
Anderson and Adam Marty scored in the third period for the Spartans.
Somerset takes a 14-7-2 record into the playoffs.