Celebrating Senior Night is something all high school and college teams do, but few teams celebrate the way Verona boys hockey did.
Three seniors scored in the Wildcats’ 4-2 home win over the Janesville Bluebirds on Tuesday, Feb. 11, completing an undefeated run through the Big Eight Conference.
Verona (20-4, 14-0 Big Eight) earned the No. 1 seed in the Division 1 Edgewood Sectional and will host the winner of Madison Memorial and Baraboo/Portage in the regional finals Friday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats are ranked fifth in D1 in the latest Wisconsin Prep Hockey Coaches Association Poll.
Verona 4, Janesville co-op 2
Senior Drew Yeager scored the game winner for the Wildcats late in the third period, and Conrad Moline added an insurance tally off an assist from Anthony Heinrichs.
The Bluebirds tied it at 2 with a pair of quick goals in the third.
Verona seniors Parker Ploc and Keegan Lindell scored in the first period. Heinrichs assisted on both goals. Osting also assisted on Ploc’s goal and Moline also assisted on Lindell’s tally.
Verona 5, SPASH 2
After a scoreless first period, Wildcats erupted for four straight goals in the second to beat the Panthers at home Saturday, Feb. 8.
Ryan Ritter scored 2:02 into the second off assists from Ploc and Troy Tollefson. Lindell scored a little more than five minutes later off an assist from Nathan Jurrens.
Verona tacked on two power-play goals in the second. Cale Rufenacht collected the assist on Walker Haessig’s tally with 7:56 left, then scored with 1:31 left off assists from Ritter and Leo Renlund.
SPASH scored 37 seconds before the second intermission and 6:40 into the third period to cut it to 4-2, but Rufenacht added an insurance goal with 1:03 left in the game off an assist from Haessig.
Kaden Grant made 20 saves in the win.
Verona 5, Sun Prairie 1
Rufenacht recorded a hat trick and also had an assist as the Wildcats clinched their fourth straight Big Eight title on the road Tuesday, Feb. 4.
“It’s kind of an expectation at this point,” Rufenacht said of winning the conference crown. “We came into this season expecting to win conference. When we all buy in, we feel like we can beat anybody.”
The Wildcats capitalized on their second power-play opportunity with 5:08 left in the first period. Jurrens ripped a wrister past Sun Prairie goaltender Alex Liegel, as Rufenacht and Renlund assisted on the goal.
Renlund applied pressure to Liegel, stole the puck away and found Rufenacht in front for his first goal with 1:21 left in the first.
Rufenacht was denied by Liegel on a penalty shot 27 seconds into the second period, but he picked up his third point with 3:02 left before the second intermission. The captain muscled his way in front for a short-handed goal off an assist from Haessig.
Renlund beat Liegel five-hole on a breakaway 38 seconds into the third period to make it 4-0.
Rufenacht completed his hat trick by tipping in a shot from the point by Renlund with 1:59 left. Osting also assisted on the goal.
Grant finished with 14 saves.
Arrowhead 4, Verona 1
The Wildcats couldn’t mount a comeback against the Warhawks on Saturday, Feb. 1, at Howard G. Mullett Ice Center in Hartland.
Arrowhead scored one goal in the first period and the first three of the third. Rufenacht scored with 6:22 left off an assist from Haessig. Grant made 30 saves.
Verona 7, Beloit Memorial 0
Twelve different Wildcats recorded at least one point in a win over the Purple Knights on Thursday, Jan. 30, at Edwards Ice Arena in Beloit.
Verona outshot Memorial 85-7, as Grant (seven saves) picked up his eighth shutout of the season.
Verona 17, Eastside Lakers 0
Sixteen different Wildcats recorded at least one point in a rout of the Madison East/Madison La Follette co-op Tuesday, Jan. 28, at Hartmeyer Ice Arena in Madison.
Verona 8, Middleton 0
The Wildcats scored five goals in the first period en route to a home win Friday, Jan. 24.
Renlund scored on a breakaway 23 seconds into the game off a stretch pass from Jurrens. Osting scored with 5:17 left in the first off a pass in front from Heinrichs. Moline also assisted on the goal.
Ploc scored six seconds into a power play off assists from Ritter and Keegan Lindell with 4:20 left in the first. Ploc scored again almost three minutes later off a rebound, as Yeager and Derek Iszczyszyn picked up the assists.
Moline converted on a rebound with 33 seconds before the first intermission off assists from Heinrichs and Cordray.
Jurrens scored on the power play 3:21 into the second period off assists from Rufenacht and Haessig to put the running clock into effect.
Calvin Moioffer scored right in front of the net 3:10 into the third period to make it 7-0. Rufenacht capped the scoring when he took a pass from Renlund and flipped a backhand into the back of the net with 4:15 left.
Grant stopped 15 shots.
Notre Dame de la Baie 3, Verona 2
The Wildcats never led against the Tritons in their second game at the Wausau West Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Wausau West 3, Verona 0
The tournament hosts scored twice in the first period and again in the second Friday, Jan. 17, at Marathon Park Ice Arena in Wausau.
Verona 8, Janesville co-op 0
The Wildcats started fast with four goals in the first period and three more in the second Thursday, Jan. 9, at Janesville Ice Arena.
Jurrens started the scoring 2:20 into the game off assists from Cordray and Moline. Rufenacht had a power-play goal at the 8:57 mark of the first period.
Cordray scored off a pass from Moline with 3:41 left in the first, and Rufenacht scored another power-play goal off assists from Jurrens and Grant with 31 seconds left in the period.
Ploc scored 58 seconds into the second period off a pass from Keegan Lindell and on the power play at the 4:38 mark off a pass from Rufenacht. Jurrens scored with 7:02 left in the second off a pass from Osting.
Ritter scored a short-handed goal with 10:02 left in the third off a pass from Jurrens. Grant (six saves) and Hebgen (nine saves) combined on the shutout.
Verona 8, Madison Memorial 0
The Wildcats broke through with four goals in the second period and three more in the third Tuesday, Jan. 7, at Verona Ice Arena.
Heinrichs scored on the power-play 5:57 into the second off a pass from Moline, then found the back of the net 2:29 later off assists from Cordray and Moline.
Cordray scored with 5:34 left in the second off assists from Moline and Renlund. Ploc scored on the power play 1:02 later off assists from Moline and Heinrichs.
Keegan Lindell scored 1:11 into the third off a pass from Rufenacht. Moline scored a little more than three minutes later off assists from Ritter and Osting. Ritter added a goal with four seconds left off assists from Renlund and Moioffer.
Renlund scored with 5:41 left in the first period off assists from Rufenacht and Haessig. Grant picked up the shutout with 14 saves.