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Somerset hockey notches a pair of shutouts

Shutouts recorded by two different goalies helped the Somerset hockey team roll past Spooner and Tomah last week.

Playing their fourth game in five days, the Spartans had no trouble putting away Spooner last Tuesday, 8-0. Then, with three solid days of practice under their belts, the Spartans went to Tomah on Saturday and played sharply in a 5-0 win.

Spooner brought nine skaters and three goalies for last Tuesday's game. Seeing that Spooner was short on players, Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson decided minutes before the game to rest senior goalie Jordan Langness. In his place, freshman goalie Bryce Hanson got the start. Hanson stopped all 13 shots he faced to record a shutout in his first varsity game.

Spooner was clearly no match for the Spartans, with Somerset outshooting the Rails 29-4 in the first period. Gilkerson said the strong play of the Spooner goaltender was the only thing that kept the Rails competitive. Spooner's goalie finished with 36 saves.

Somerset scored three times in the first period, twice in the second and three more times in the third. Sophomore Jesse Brown scored four of Somerset's eight goals.

Gilkerson said the coaches had the Spartans concentrate on aspects of the team concept to get the maximum out of the game.

"We focused on our neutral zone regroup. We worked on passing and moving the puck," he said.

The Spartans were expecting a much better challenge at Tomah and they were ready for it. The Spartans scored the only goal of the first period, before breaking the game open with four goals in the second period.

"In all phases of the game, everything came together," Gilkerson said, highlighting the breakout, forecheck and neutral zone passing.

Brown continued his hot hand, scoring the only goal of the opening period. He scored on the power play, snapping home a quick one-timer.

Drew Kelly started the scoring in the second period, intercepting a breakout pass and tucking his shot into the upper corner of the goal.

Adam Marty was the next Spartan to score, getting off a quick shot after Reed Baillargeon won a faceoff back to him.

Freshman Brendan Sheehan was next to score, taking a pass in the slot, with his shot deflecting off a Tomah skate and into the goal. It was the second straight game where the freshman scored.

The final Spartan goal came short-handed. Aaron Moore stole the puck at the Somerset blue line, dodged one Tomah defender and was able to skate in for the score.

Gilkerson said a key moment in the game came when the Spartans were playing defense. Tomah had an extended five-on-three power play late in the first period. The Spartans blocked several shots and rotated well in the penalty kill formation to prevent Tomah from scoring.

Langness made 23 saves to get the shutout in Tomah.

Somerset faces a big game this Saturday when the Spartans host Hudson at 2 p.m. The Spartans begin their Middle Border Conference schedule next Tuesday when they host the cooperative team from Eau Claire Regis, Chippewa Falls McDonell and Bloomer, a new addition to the conference this season.