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Somerset hockey keeps facing beefed up schedule

Somerset goalie Bryce Hanson stops a close range scoring attempt by St. Paul Johnson as Somerset’s Adam Marty (7) moves in to help on defense.

The goal when the Somerset hockey coaches beefed up the team’s schedule was to give the Spartans a consistently challenging lineup of opponents throughout the season.

The Spartans faced two new opponents in recent days and both were at the level the Spartans were hoping. On Monday the Spartans skated at Chisago Lakes, Minn. The game went right down to the wire, with Chisago winning 5-4.

Cedarburg is another new opponent for the Spartans. Cedarburg made the trip west for a two-game series against Somerset and Hudson. The Spartans and Cedarburg skated to a 5-5 tie on Friday. Cedarburg was edged by Hudson 2-1 on Saturday.

Both the new opponents are fast, skilled teams that challenge teams at both ends of the rink.

“This is the exact type of game we want to play to get ready for playoffs,” said Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson.

Monday’s game provided an almost immediate challenge. They were called for a five-minute boarding penalty. With 90 seconds left, they took another penalty. They killed off the penalties successfully. Moments later, Somerset’s Drew Kelly went coast-to-coast for the only goal of the first period.

The Spartans increased their lead to 2-0 early in the second period when Aaron Moore got out on a breakaway, setting up Alex Lahde for the score.

Chisago Lakes standout Landon Lushanko then showed his exceptional speed, scoring three straight goals.

Twice the Spartans came back to tie the game, on goals by Adam Marty and Moore. Chisago Lakes won the game on a goal with 1:40 left in regulation.

The Spartans faced a similar challenge from Cedarburg, a team that’s been state-ranked for parts of the season.

“It was a great test for us. They had four or five guys who could really go,” Gilkerson said.

The Spartans were plagued by penalties in the first half of the game, falling behind 3-0. Moore got the Spartans on the board, weaving his way through three Cedarburg defenders for the goal.

Reed Kelly and Marty added goals to tie the score at 3-3 heading into the third period. The Spartans twice took the lead in the third period, but each time, Cedarburg answered. Logan Wiederin scored 42 seconds into the period, but Cedarburg matched the goal 48 seconds later.

Reed Kelly continued the scoring flurry, putting the Spartans ahead 29 seconds after Cedarburg tied the game. Cedarburg got the tying goal with 3:35 left in regulation.

 St. Paul Johnson

The Governors had no clout against Somerset last Tuesday. The Spartans won the game 5-0 on their home ice, but a more accurate indication of the game might have been the shot totals. Somerset finished with 38 shots on goal, compared to six for the Governors.

Somerset got first period goals from Brendan Sheehan and Lahde, with Lahde scoring again in the second period. The freshman is now tied for fourth on the team with 10 goals.

“He’s been taking on a bigger role,” Gilkerson said of Lahde. “He’s really making a lot of strides.”

Sheehan scored his second goal a minute into the third period. With two seconds left in the game, freshman defenseman Wil Gauper scored his first varsity goal.

The Spartans return to action this Thursday with a home game against the Northwest Icemen. This game has been postponed. The Icemen are a cooperative team built from the former Spooner, Barron and Cumberland programs. The Spartans will be on the road Saturday, playing a 1 p.m. matinee at Menomonie.

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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