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Spartans earn third seed in sectional

The WIAA sectional boys hockey seeding proved to be a good measure of how respect has grown for the Somerset hockey team.

When the initial voting was completed, it had Superior ranked in third, one step above Somerset. Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson appealed and he made a compelling argument. When the revote was done, three coaches had changed their votes, giving Somerset the third seed and dropping the vaunted Superior program to the fourth seed.

It was just the second time Superior has been seeded fourth since the seeding process was begun for hockey in the 1990s. Superior has never been seeded lower than fourth.

Somerset went into the seeding meeting with a 15-4-3 record while Superior was 11-11. Gilkerson pointed out to coaches that head-to-head record and games within the sectional were supposed to carry the most weight in the voting. Gilkerson used the games against top-seeded Hudson as a leverage point. Somerset tied Hudson 1-1 while Superior lost to Hudson 4-1.

By drawing the third seed, the Spartans will start the WIAA playoffs at home next Thursday against River Falls. Somerset drilled River Falls 11-1 when the teams met in the opening game of the season. The Wildcats drew the sixth seed among the 10 teams in the sectional tournament bracket.

The Spartans notched their 15th win of the season last Thursday when they breezed past a reeling Baldwin-Woodville team, 11-2. Somerset’s vast gap in experience showed right away, with four Spartan seniors scoring goals in the first period. Aaron Moore started the scoring, followed by Adam Marty, Jesse Brown and Reed Kelly.

B-W scored twice in the second period, but it didn’t stop the Spartans. They got goals from Dalton Lyons, Brendan Sheehan, Drew Kelly and Reed Baillargeon to up the lead to 8-2. Somerset’s goals in the third period came from Moore, Baillargeon and Tyler Forrest. It was Forrest’s first varsity goal, with the goal coming on his only shift of the night.

This was the Spartans’ Parents Night game. Because Eau Claire Regis pulled a late cancellation in the JV Senior Night planned for the previous evening, the varsity and junior varsity teams held their event together on Thursday. It ended up being fortunate for the JV players as some were able to skate shifts in the one-sided varsity game.

The Spartans complete their regular season schedule this Friday with a home game against the Northwest Icemen from Spooner.