The Somerset boys hockey team will get to play at home in the WIAA playoffs.
The Spartans received the eighth seed in the WIAA sectional tournament, which was seeded during a lengthy online meeting Sunday, Feb. 4. The Spartans will open the WIAA bracket next Tuesday, Feb. 13, when they host the Barron co-op team at 6 p.m. Two of Somerset's five wins this season have come against that team, named the Northwest Icemen. The Icemen are the ninth seed in the tournament bracket.
The regular season for the Spartans ends this Friday when they host the Holmen-La Crosse Aquinas cooperative team at 6 p.m. This game will be Senior Night for the Spartans.
The Spartans are coming off a pair of losses last week that dropped their season record to 5-18.
The Spartans dropped a 4-0 decision at Amery last Thursday. The game was scoreless until Amery scored midway through the second period. The Warriors scored three times in the final period.
"Amery scored on its chances and we didn't score on ours," said Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson. "We had Grade A scoring chances. We don't get a lot of chances but they were quality chances."
On Saturday, the Spartans made the hike across the state to Eagle River to face Northland Pines. It seems that every non-conference opponent lately for the Spartans has been a talented team and this was another. Northland Pines improved to 17-5 with a 5-1 win over the Spartans.
Gilkerson said last week's games were a positive step for the Spartans, as the team showed good energy and intensity in both games.
"The kids have a good attitude. We're having a lot of fun in practice. They want to come to the rink every day," Gilkerson said.
That showed at Northland Pines, a team that is deep and talented. Somerset got its goal in the second period when Jackson Haukom skated in from the right and beat the Eagles' goalie with a shot high to the short side.
The trip to Eagle River included a tour of the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame, which is part of the complex at which Northland Pines plays its games. The Spartans viewed the displays on Wisconsin's hockey history. Among the plaques they saw was Mike Connor's of Somerset, who was a 2008 inductee for his tireless work in support of youth hockey in Wisconsin.