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St. Mary’s Springs cruises to inaugural D2 WIAA hockey title over Northland Pines

Northland Pines vs St. Mary's Springs in the D2 WIAA state boys title game.
Northland Pines vs St. Mary's Springs in the D2 WIAA state boys title game.
Northland Pines vs St. Mary's Springs in the D2 WIAA state boys title game.
Northland Pines vs St. Mary's Springs in the D2 WIAA state boys title game.
Northland Pines vs St. Mary's Springs in the D2 WIAA state boys title game.
St. Mary's Springs defeated Northland Pines 5-1 for the Division 2 WIAA boys hockey championship

MADISON (WKOW) -- The St. Mary's Springs Ledgers now have a record they can never lose.

They're the state's first Division 2 boys state hockey champions after defeating Northland Pines 5-1 Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

This is the first year that the WIAA has split boys hockey into two divisions, and the Ledgers made the most of its opportunity.

The teams skated to a scoreless tie after period one, but that didn't last long going into the second.

Quick back-to-back scores put St. Mary's Springs up 2-0.

Mitchell Huettl put Northland Pines on the board first, followed by another power-play goal by Brady Welsch with an assist from Mitchell Huettl .

Anthony Koenigs, with an assist from Cade Sabel, put the Ledgers up 3-0 going into the final period.

Brady Welsch scored again in the third to push the Ledgers' lead to 4-0.

That was followed by a goal by Isaac Hyland with an assist by Levi Doering.

But Northland Pines was not about to go away quietly.

Hunter Bill, with an assist by Brady Snedden and Harmon Mari , put the Eagles on the board to narrow the gap to 5-1.

But that's a close as the were able to get.

In Thursday's semifinal game, the Ledgers scored a pair of goals in the first period and added two more in the second period to take a 4-0 advantage before Rice Lake scored prior to the second intermission, cutting its deficit to 4-1. St. Mary’s Springs scored three unanswered goals in the third period to expand its lead to 7-1 before the Warriors scored late in the period to cap the scoring.

Brady Welsch scored twice and dished out an assist for the Ledgers; Max VandeSlunt netted a pair of goals; and Noah Pickart added a goal and three assists to lead the offensive attack. Hayden Rising was credit with the win in goal, making 11 saves before being relieved by Joey Koleno in the third period.

Mason Ewert and Cole Fenske scored the goals for the Warriors, and Griffin Van Gilder made 18 saves and was charged with the loss in goal.

Second-seeded Northland Pines (16-11-1) earned a berth in the title game by cruising to a 9-2 win over Somerset Co-op in its semifinal.

The Eagles jumped on top with the first two goals of the game in the first period, but the Spartans cut their deficit in half with a goal to trail 2-1 at the first intermission.

The second period belonged the Eagles, scoring four unanswered goals, including three power-play scores. They scored three more times in the third period to erase any notion of a Spartans’ comeback. Somerset did score once in the third period to account for their final goal of the game.

Both Harmon Marien and Gunnar Schiffmann scored two goals, and each added an assist to lead the potent Eagles’ scoring attack. Riley McGee chipped in with a goal and three assists, and Brady Snedden added a goal and two assists. Brett Wilkins was the winning goalie with 16 saves.

Beaudee Smith led the Spartans on offense with a goal and an assist, and Antonio Gomez scored the other Spartans’ goal. Kaleb Bents made 28 saves in goal. Somerset Co-op (16-11-1) finishes its season with its first appearance in the State Tournament.

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