Team in shock after season quickly ends in first round

The hockey team’s season came to an abrupt end against Northern on Feb. 15. The team went in to the playoffs with some momentum after rattling off win after win before a close loss to Churchill in their last regular season game.

After a week off between the regular season and playoffs, the team resumed against Northern in the first round of the playoffs. The team’s leading goal scorer John Billingsley got hurt the weekend before the game in his club hockey match, and was thus unavailable for the game. Not having Billingsley proved to be a big blow to the team as it was a 7-0 loss.

The first period started out pretty evenly before Northern got on the board and made it 1-0 after a puck got past the Patriots’ freshman goaltender Riley Jordan. Jordan made some big saves to close out the period for the Patriots. The first period ended that way after no shots could get past the Northern goalie throughout the entire period.

The second period was all Northern after they scored three goals to make it 4-0. In the MSHL, only during the playoffs, both teams go back to their respective locker rooms between the second and third periods while the zamboni is brought onto the ice.
That break didn’t seem to help much as Northern scored a short-handed goal to make it 5-0 at the start of the period. At that point Jordan was taken out, and sophomore goalie Colin Brick was inserted. He made some saves, but still let in two more goals. Northern’s final five goals were all scored by the same player, who the Wootton defense couldn’t stop all night. After the seventh goal Wootton generated some chances, but hit the post two more times.

Northern lost their following game 8-1 to Blair, who Wootton beat 7-2 even without Billingsley, and then again 12-3.

Looking to next year the offense remains the same other than the loss of senior and four-year varsity played Ethan Heiberger. On the other hand, the defense is graduating everyone except freshmen Daniel Tomashevsky and Sean Liu. Both goalies are underclassmen and will also be back for next year. The offense will be among the best in the state as Billingsley and his younger brother Nick Billingsley both didn’t finish the season due to injuries, but both are looking to come back next season.

On the divisional level, Billingsley was awarded all division first team, while senior Zack Lechner, junior Hunter Band, and Jordan all made the second team. “Second team is cool and all, but making a playoff run and winning states once would be better than making even first team all four years,” Lechner said.

For Lechner and Heiberger, the only two four-year varsity players in the senior class, their careers both ended with a total of one playoff win even though they finished second in the division every year.

 

Max Pasternak

Longform Editor

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