West Bend outscores Waupaca
Hockey team drops tournament game
By Greg Seubert
West Bend put and end to the Waupaca boys’ hockey team’s nine-game winning streak.
The West Bend Ice Bears handed the Waupaca Comets a 3-2 loss Dec. 29 in the final game of a four-team hockey tournament at the Waupaca Ice & Expo Center.
Waupaca had opened the tournament with a 9-0 win over Pacelli Dec. 27 and an 8-3 win Dec. 28 over Whitefish Bay.
West Bend posted a 3-0 record, followed by Waupaca and Whitefish Bay (2-1) and Pacelli (0-3).
West Bend 3, Waupaca 2
Peyton Kesselhon’s goal six minutes into the third period broke a 2-2 tie.
The Ice Bears took a 1-0 lead with 9:26 remaining in the first period on a goal from Kenny Likins’ but Waupaca’s Cody Rasmussen tied the game three minutes later with a power play goal, with Jack Erspamer getting credit for the assist. West Bend regained the lead on Ethan Coughlin’s goal with a minute to go in the opening period.
Jack Menzies tied the game with 5:54 remaining in the seocnd period off of another assist from Jack Erspamer, but that turned out to be the Comets’ final goal.
West Bend outshot the Comets 34-28.
“The exact game that you just saw was what I was thinking was going to take place,” coach John Erspamer said. “That was two pretty good hockey teams battling it out.
“We wanted to win,” he said. “We came out on the short end, but we’re not going to cry about it. If you’re going to get better as a hockey team, you have to be challenged like that. Sometimes, it doesn’t work out the way you want it to, but in the end, you’re a better hockey team for playing a close game like that.”
Waupaca 8, Whitefish Bay 3
The Comets overcame an early 2-0 deficit and outscored the Storm 8-1 the rest of the way.
Dominic Murano gave the Storm the lead with a pair of goals in the first 2:44, but Waupaca tied the game on goals from Menzies and Rasmussen later in the opening period.
Murano gave the Storm the lead again with his third goal, but the Storm never scored again.
Menzies’ second goal sent the teams into the locker room tied at 3-3 after one period.
“Our defensemen had a really tough first period, probably the toughest period over the entire course of the season,” Erspamer said. “That was the worst period we had. We went into the locker room and said, ‘OK boys, I’ve had my fill of penalties, so let’s stop that.’ I said, ‘Look, defensemen, the score’s 3-3 and we didn’t play very good. Let’s just go out and redeem ourselves and get better.’ They did that.”
Menzies, Erspamer and Mitchell Trzebiatowski found the net in the second period and the Comets added to their lead with third-period goals from Jed Vanden Bush and Davis Levine.
Menzies had three assists to go with his hat trick, while Rasmussen and Vin Nikolai added two assists and Erspamer had one.
The Comets will head to Stevens Point’s K.B. Willett Ice Arena Friday and Saturday, Jan. 4-5, for the Community Parks Foundation Classic. Waupaca will open the tournament at 5 p.m. Jan. 4 with a Great Northern Conference matchup with Mosinee before facing Stevens Point or Fond du Lac Jan. 5.