Sporting WCA

Hockey Season Comes to an End in Tough Shootout Loss

The Westminster Hockey season came to a close, Monday night at the St. Peters Rec-Plex, as they fall short of their goal of a third straight Wickenheiser Cup Championship.

After tying top-seeded Duchesne 1-1 on Friday night, the teams met again on Monday in a do-or-die tiebreaker game. The tiebreaker game ended knotted up at 2-2, forcing a ten-minute minigame to be played to determine who would move on to the next round.

When no goals were scored in the minigame, the teams moved to shootouts. In the first round of three shootouts, no goals were scored either. In the second round of shootouts, Duchesne’s second shooter snuck a puck past Sam Haupfear to take the shootout lead. The Wildcats were unable to match the Pioneers back on the other end, and Duchesne took the series victory.

“The toughest part of the loss was knowing that we had a lot of Seniors on the team, and seeing some of the strongest guys I know really emotional just shows how much this game means to all of these guys. Obviously we came up short of our goal in winning The Wick years in a row, but with our struggles throughout the regular season, I’m looking back at it as a learning experience,” said Ben Parres.

Duchesne scored first in the middle of the first period and held the lead until midway through the second. The Wildcats had a powerplay opportunity in the first, but weren’t able to make much of it. They struggled to get things going all night until the Wildcats finally scored on a scrum in front of the net in the middle of the second period.

After tying the game at one, the Wildcats kept the pressure on, and just minutes later it looked like they had taken a 2-1 lead. The Westminster bench celebrated and the Blue Crew went crazy. However, the referees met together on the ice, and after deliberation, decided to take the goal away for reasons unknown to anyone. Duchesne caught their breath and escaped the second period with the score still tied at one.

With 10 minutes left in the game, a Westminster turnover led to an odd man rush for Duchesne, who scored to go up 2-1.

As time dwindled and Westminster’s season hung in the balance, Jack Canfield skated down the ice with the puck on a 2-on-1 breakaway down a player due to a penalty by Jack Thomas with about six minutes left in the third period. Canny made one move and layed it off to Michael Woll, who put a move on the goalie and found the top shelf of the net to tie the game at two on a shorthanded goal.

Shortly after his goal to tie the game, Woll went chasing the puck into the offensive zone. He went to make a hit on a Duchesne player against the boards along the end, but both players stumbled and crashed into the boards. The crowd went silent. Duchesne’s player laid there for a very short period of time before being able to skate off on his own power, but the same can’t be said for Michael. A pool of blood flowed from his helmet. After crashing the boards at full speed and hitting face first, Michael lay on the ice bleeding from his forehead for 20 minutes. Trainers, coaches, and players surrounded him as they did what they could to contain the bleeding while waiting for an ambulance. After about twenty minutes, Michael got up and gave his fellow classmates and fans a thumbs up on his way out on the stretcher. We pray for Michael to have a quick and successful recovery.

The game had to continue, though. After the delay, both teams came out looking a little fresher. There were times it looked like both teams would score in the final minutes, but nobody did. Throughout the night, the Wildcats squandered opportunity after opportunity. They needed only to convert on one more scoring opportunity, and the result would’ve been different. The second game of the series ended in a 2-2 tie.

The ten minute minigame period featured mostly Westminster’s first line of Jack Canfield, Jack Thomas, Joe Schroeder, Ben Parres, and Aidan Penberthy, who replaced Woll. Ben Parres and Jack Canfield both had multiple scoring chances, but simply couldn’t convert. The minigame ended in a 0-0 tie.

The shootouts would go in rounds of three. The first three shooters for Westminster were Jack Canfield, Ben Parres, and Joe Schroeder. Canfield had the best look to score, smashing a puck off the post past the Duchesne goalie. Parres and Schroeder each failed to score. However, Haupfear made three strong saves at the other end, and Westminster had life. There would be another round of three shootouts.

The second round of shootouts would feature Harry Ottsen, Jack Thomas, and Aidan Penberthy. Once again, all three would fail to score. Ottsen and Thomas both missed, then Duchesne’s second shooter held the puck till the last second before sneaking the puck inside the post for the game winner. Aidan Penberthy needed to score to keep the season alive. He took a wrishot from inside ten feet, but Duchesne’s goalie, who proved to be a wall all night, saved it for the win.

Though the Wildcats brought a big crowd to compete with Duchesne’s home crowd student section, they were unable to chant freely. The team battled long and hard through regulation, two overtimes, and a shootout. The Wildcats were unable to put one in the back of the net against Jack Boschert, one of the top goalies in the area, and it cost them their season.

“The season overall was up and down. We dealt with injuries and other issues but we pulled it together by the end of the season. We trusted each other and the upperclassmen lead the way with hard work and trust in each other. My whole high school career flew by but I’ll never forget the fun I had playing every year since I was a Freshman. I always played for the Seniors above me and this year I hope the players below me did the same,” said Schroeder.

Monday night was an unsatisfying and devastating way to end the season, especially for the team that has won the Wickenheiser Cup in each of the last two years. For Westminster’s Seniors, their high school hockey careers are over. Goalie Sam Haupfear, as well as Captains Jack Canfield and Joe Schroeder, can also say goodbye to an amazing career playing hockey for Westminster.

“We struggled early on in the year while having lots of new guys who had never played together. As the season progressed we started to work together as a team and most importantly we became a family. Once we started to work together we started to find success,” said Haupfear.

“This year was a grind with never really having our full lineup. When it came down to the wire the boys found a way pull it together and make one last run for the Cup, and I could not have asked for a better team to be apart of,” said Canfield.