Three first period goals and solid defense carried the Stoughton boys hockey team to its first win of the season last week.
The Vikings dropped the puck inside Edwards Ice Arena on Friday and defeated the sectional rival Greendale Ice Force.
Stoughton continued to be cursed by one bad period in its two losses last week, dropping the second game of the four-team Beloit Memorial Thanksgiving Tournament to the Purple Knights. They later lost to Sauk Prairie in a Badger Conference crossover game as well.
“We’ve got to be more prepared right when the puck drops,” coach Doug Kraft said. “If you look at all of our games so far, we’ve played two good periods and one that’s not up to par.
“Once we figure out how to clean that up, I think we’re going to be in pretty good shape.”
Stoughton 7, Greendale 2
The Vikings spent their Black Friday shopping for goals. Stoughton scored three times in the first period and added two more goals in the each of the final two periods as they cruised to a 7-2 win over the Greendale Ice Force.
“Maybe the score doesn’t show it but Greendale kept us honest, they played hard from start to finish,” Kraft said. “Sometimes when the score is tilted players forget about individual responsibilities. I thought we followed up our shots well, a couple of the goals were on rebounds.”
The defensive group was outstanding. Junior defensemen Jack Sanford notched three points and Parker Milbauer got his first varsity goal.
“We tried to free up Jack Sundby and Nolan Stapelfeldt a little bit and they delivered, each getting a goal and an assist,” Kraft said.
Milbauer and Sanford opened the scoring 5 minutes apart early in the first period for a quick 2-0 lead. Beloit scored with a power-play goal from Bryce Dykstra midway through the period that cut the lead in half. That would be as close the Ice Force got.
Stapelfeldt and the Vikings answered with 4:30 remaining in the period to push the lead back to two goals, 3-1.
Stoughton junior forward James Hanson and Sundby each scored in the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second period to push the Vikings’ lead to 5-1.
“James has a bit of a hot hand right now, hopefully that keeps going for us,” Kraft said. “There is still a lot of work for us to be more complete, but this game was a step in the right direction.”
Senior forward Jared Bauer and Sundby each added a goal in the first 12 minutes of the third period to cap the win.
Stoughton senior goaltender Carter Hellenbrand made 34 saves between the pipes for Stoughton. Jacob Huang stopped 32 shots for Greendale.
Beloit Memorial 4, Stoughton 2
Despite outshooting Beloit Memorial 57-27, Stoughton lost focus in the second period Saturday and were never able to recover, losing 4-2. Both goals by Stoughton came on the power play.
“Beloit really came to play in their home tournament,” Kraft said. “They’ve got a big, strong goaltender, and he held up well for them.”
Stoughton threw a lot of pucks at Beloit goaltender Aidan Wright thinking that rebounds would be the key.
“We still feel confident that was the right strategy, but unfortunately for us he gobbled up more than he put out there,” Kraft said.
Junior forward Brody Hlavacek opened the game with a power-play goal with 2:15 remaining in the first period only to watch the Purple Knights take control with four unanswered goals.
Kyle Hanaman had a power-play goal and an assist in the second period for Beloit. Sean McMillan also scored to help put the Purple Knights up 3-1. Hanaman opened the third period with another goal to push the Purple Knights’ advantage out to 4-1.
“It was a bit of letdown,” Kraft said. “As a team we’re still learning how to keep momentum.
“We feel that part of our game will come around as the season progresses.”
Hanson cut the lead in half with his power-play goal with 2:13 remaining in regulation but Stoughton ran out of time.
Hellenbrand stopped 23 shots on goal, while Aidan Wright turned away 55 shots.
Sauk Prairie 9, Stoughton 1
Stoughton allowed a couple of quick goals and never fully recoverd Tuesday in a 9-1 Badger Conference crossover loss to Sauk Prairie.
The Vikings were outshot 20-4 in the first period and fell behind 7-1.
Nick Mast had three goals and two assists in the period, while linemate Camden Descroches added two goals and an assist for Sauk Prairie (2-2-0).
Eagle forwards Riley Jelinek and Mast scored 27 seconds apart less than three minutes into the game.
Hanson answered with Stoughton’s lone goal just over five minutes into the game before Sauk Prairie closed out the period with four more goals.
The Vikings had 10 penalties. Sauk Prairie had zero.
“I don’t think we were ready from the start tonight,” Kraft said. “I thought we played better as the game progressed but the first 17 minutes was not the way that we want to play.”
Stoughton junior goaltender Quinn Zieman made six saves and allowed three goals before Hellenbrand took over. Hellenbrand finished with 58 saves, while allowing six goals for Stoughton (1-2-0).
Levi Car stopped eight of nine shots on goal for Sauk Prairie.
Stoughton travels to Beaver Dam for a 7:30 p.m. Thursday for a Badger Conference crossover game. Kraft spent the last four seasons as an assistant with the Golden Beavers.
“We’ve got three games this week, and I’m trying to keep the players focused only on the next one,” Kraft said. “When the Beaver Dam game rolls around on Thursday, we’ll just try to treat that one as the next one.
“I spent many years at the Family Center and I’ll know just about everyone there, it will be nice to see them and that part is pretty cool.
“As for the hockey side of things; the main difference is that I’ll be standing on the visitors’ bench.”