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Spartans get out to 3-0 start

The Somerset hockey team is out to a 3-0 start for the 2005-06 season, leading into this Thursday's showdown in New Richmond.

The Spartans climbed to 3-0 on Saturday, winning a wild contest at Chippewa Falls, 4-3. Sophomore Brock Montpetit scored with 15 seconds left in regulation for the game-winner in Saturday's game.

The win over Chippewa Falls followed one-sided wins for the Spartans against Altoona and Baldwin-Woodville to start the season.

The Spartans are being coached this season by Dan Gilkerson, the former SHS all-state forward who played college hockey at the University of Alaska-Anchorage.

Gilkerson has the Spartans playing a swift, aggressive style. One of the things the Spartans still need to learn is to adjust to officiating styles. The attacking style of the Spartans drew 11 penalties in Saturday's game, compared to five for the Cardinals.

"We couldn't stay out of the box," Gilkerson said. "Our guys have to adapt to how the officials are calling the game."

Neither team was able to score in the first period. Chippewa scored first, at the end of a 5-on-3 power play, midway through the first period. Somerset answered back 24 seconds later, with Montpetit scored on assists from linemates Nick Widing and Matt Johnson.

CF took a 2-1 lead three minutes into the third period, starting a big scoring period.

The Spartans got the next two goals, both from junior Austin Seibel. Seibel scored both goals off feeds from Calin Hehling, who was playing in his first game after recovering from an injury. The second of those goals was short-handed.

Chippewa was able to tie the game, scoring from a skirmish in front of the net with 6:07 left in regulation.

The score remained tied until the Spartans called a timeout in the final 30 seconds of the game. They had a faceoff in front of the CF net, and ran a play to try setting up a scoring chance. The initial shot was stopped, but Montpetit was in place to rap in the rebound for the game-winner.

Kevin Kicker made 21 saves in goal for the Spartans.

"This was the first game where he's gotten tested and he made some huge saves," Gilkerson said.

Blistering the Blackhawks

The Spartans wanted to get out to an energetic start against Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday, but nobody could have anticipated Somerset's six-goal barrage in the first period.

With that huge lead, the Spartans kept building onto their lead in the final two periods and finished with a 10-0 blanking of the Blackhawks.

Seibel started the charge with a short-handed goal 2:39 into the game. Defenseman Jeff Burke then scored twice, followed by each member of Somerset's top line, Brock Montpetit, Nick Widing and Matt Johnson, to complete the six-goal burst.

This line has already drawn a good deal of attention from around the area. Gilkerson said their ages do not matter because of the extensive amount of hockey they played with the Wisconsin Fire. All three skated at the U.S. National Camp last summer.

"I expect a lot of them," Gilkerson said. "I expect them to be leaders even though they're young."

Winning the opener

The Spartans started the season by beating Altoona 7-1 last Tuesday. The Spartans scored twice in the first period on goals from Burke and Johnson. The lead grew to 4-0 in the second period after goals from Widing and Johnson. Widing got two more goals early in the third period, with Montpetit getting the final Spartan goal. Altoona got its only goal with 66 seconds left in the game.

Up next

The Spartans play at New Richmond on Thursday, the first half of playing two of the top teams in the area in three days. The Spartans will face New Richmond at 7 p.m. on Thursday, in the renewal of an always-heated rivalry.

On Saturday the Spartans will be back on the road, facing one of the best teams from the Big Rivers Conference, when they play at 7 p.m. at Eau Claire North.

Somerset 10, Baldwin-Woodville 0

First Period: 1. SHS, Austin Seibel (un) sh 2:39. 2. SHS, Jeff Burke (Ryan Pray) 5:06. 3. SHS, Burke (Pray) pp 9:27. 4. SHS, Pray (Matt Johnson, Bryce Montpetit) pp 14:00. 5. SHS, Nick Widing (Bryce Montpetit) 15:17. 6. SHS, Johnson (Brock Montpetit) 15:23.

Second Period: 7. SHS, Tom Smith (Dan Kirk) 2:32. 8. SHS, Widing (Brock Montpetit) 9:45. 9. SHS, Brock Montpetit (un) pp 9:58.

Third Period: 10. SHS, Burke (Nick Ask) 2:58.

Saves: Somerset (Kevin Kicker) 16; Baldwin-Woodville (Mike Olson) 28.

Somerset 7, Altoona 1

First Period: 1. SHS, Jeff Burke (Brock Montpetit) 5:34. 2. SHS, Matt Johnson (Nick Widing, Montpetit) 7:24.

Second Period: 3. SHS, Widing (Brock Montpetit, Tommy Smith) 4:05. 4. Somerset, Johnson (Brock Montpetit, Widing) 13:00.

Third Period: 5. SHS, Widing (Brock Montpetit) 3:58. 6. SHS, Widing (un) 4:43. 7. SHS, Brock Montpetit (Jon Galbraith) 11:28. 8. Altoona (Brandon Best) un 15:54.

Saves: Somerset (Kevin Kicker) 19; Altoona (Rick McKnight) 48.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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