NHM Rockets headed to state
Rockets to play Thursday night
By Erik Buchinger
The Neenah/Hortonville/Menasha boys’ hockey team qualified for the state tournament with a 4-0 sectional title victory over Notre Dame on Friday, Feb. 22.
After coming close to advancing to state in previous years, Rockets’ co-head coach Mike Elkin said he is proud of this team.
“It’s emotional, it really is,” Elkin said. “With all the hard work we put in and the emotion we have, it’s crazy.”
Rockets’ player Ethan Long said he is glad the team was able to get past the sectional title game.
“We’ve tasted the sectional final before,” Long said. “Now that we’ve finally got there, it feels really good, but we’ve still got work to do.”
Goalkeeper Jake Mork said the program has finally reached the next step.
“It feels like the curse is broken,” Mork said. “This feels amazing.”
After a scoreless first period, the Rockets scored three goals in the second period with goals from Cody Dias, Mason Marquardt and Long.
“We’re confident in ourselves, and we believe in our program,” Long said. “We know what we’ve got to do. We came in, put the work in and it worked out.”
Late in the third period, Dillon Fox scored on an empty net to give the Rockets a 4-0 advantage.
Fox finished with one goal and one assist to lead the team in points.
“In the first period, Notre Dame was the better team,” Elkin said. “In the second period, we took over and that was a testament to these guys believing in themselves and worrying about the next shift.”
Mork finished with 19 saves in the shutout victory.
“The kid between the pipes, Jake Mork, has been unbelievable all year long,” Elkin said. “When you have a kid like that, you feel pretty comfortable with a 3-0 lead.”
The Rockets earned a No. 3 seed in the state tournament and will play the No. 6 seed Hudson Raiders in the quarterfinals on Thursday, Feb. 28 at approximately 6:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.