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Hockey Notre Dame through to section final

Hockey Notre Dame through to section final


By Murray Gleffe

ASHWAUBENON Notre Dame Academy boys hockey team is one step closer to making three consecutive trips to the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) state tournament.

The #1 seeded Tritons defeated #5 Fond du Lac 4-0 in a Division 1 Sectional Semifinal match at Cornerstone Community Ice Center on February 23.

We played well at times, said Notre Dame Head Coach Cory McCracken. At other times we looked casual. We had a lot of puck possession and created good scoring opportunities. It’s a good win and we were happy to be back in the section final.

Notre Dame opened the scoring when Callan Budinger scored on a rebound.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals (19-8) dug themselves an early hole by taking two penalties midway through the opening period to give the Tritons a 5-on-3 chance.

With Notre Dame getting numerous shots on target, Fond du Lac goalkeeper Spencer Shober stayed firmly between the tubes and turned several shots away.

With the power play opportunities we had, we weren’t performing how we should, said McCracken. We controlled the offensive end, but we weren’t happy with how the scoreboard read.

The Tritons (17-5-3) took a 1-0 lead in the first break.

Just over four minutes into the second period, with Notre Dame holding a 20-0 shot-on-goal advantage, the Cardinals finally got a puck on the net, which Notre Dame goalkeeper Lleyton Jaschke easily pushed aside.

With about 10 minutes left in the middle stanza, Fond Du Lac leading scorer Brett Sabel ripped a slapshot from the blue line that circled the glass and toward the center of the ice.

Notre Dames Isaac Rentmeester was the lucky recipient as he collected the puck, skated in and scored an equally strong goal for a 2-0 lead.

We’ve done a good job eliminating time and space with (Sabel), McCracken said. He didn’t get much speed built up in the neutral zone. Apart from a few chances, we held back well. You need seniors to play late in the season. You need your best players to appear in matches, and I think Isaac (Rentmeester) and Callan (Budinger) did that tonight.

The Tritons added their score with less than a minute left in the period.

Brenden Gruber danced around with the puck to the blue line and sent a perfect cross to Budinger, who went to the top shelf to give Notre Dame a 3-0 lead en route to the final period.

Notre Dame buried Fond du Lac in the opening minutes of the third period after a Cardinals defender made a careless pass.

Ian Noble waltzed in and put the Tritons at 4-0.

Around the middle of the closing period, Notre Dames Mason Peapenburg stopped a 2-on-1 attack from Fond du Lac, giving the momentum the visitors could gain by thwarting a goal.

Notre Dame took on Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha on Friday, February 25 in a section final match, with the winner advancing to the WIAA state tournament from Thursday through Saturday, March 3-5 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

We’ve seen (Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha) multiple times in the past six years, McCracken said. It should be a good game on Friday. We are a very different team than we were in December. It’s also a different team. It must be a great atmosphere.

The Tritons lost to Neenah December 3, 5-4.




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