Already facing an uphill climb in a Division 2 regional championship game, Stoughton made its chances of an upset against Waupun even longer early in the first period.
The Vikings hurt themselves with penalties in a 10-0 loss to the Warriors on Thursday, Feb. 20, at Waupun Community Center.
Waupun (17-6-2), the second seed in the Saint Mary’s Springs Sectional, entered the game ranked fourth in the Division 2 Wisconsin Prep Hockey Coaches Poll and wasted no time marking the scoreboard.
A shot from the left point deflected off Stoughton senior defenseman Jack Sanford’s skate and right to Griffin Levey, who found the back of the net 42 seconds into the game. Aaron Schouten and Malachi Buchholz assisted on the goal.
Seventh-seeded Stoughton (5-18-1), which lost to the Warriors 11-1 in the same building on Dec. 27, played most of the final 47:05 with a player in the penalty box.
Sanford was called for a five-minute major penalty and junior defenseman Zach Wahlin received a game misconduct penalty at the 13:05 mark of the first period. To make matters worse, the Vikings were without first-line senior forward James Hanson, who did not play since suffering a concussion against Viroqua on Jan. 31.
“It’s really hard to come back, especially being short-handed,” Stoughton coach Brett Quale said. “We had younger guys out there trying to kill a five-minute penalty and two upperclassmen in the box. It’s hard to stay fresh that way.”
Waupun converted with 30 seconds left on its first power play, as Jarrett Buchholz scored off assists from Malachi Buchholz and Brady Gerritson with 8:35 left in the first. Malachi Buchholz converted on the Warriors’ second power play off an assist from Levey with 2:33 left before the first intermission.
Casper Dahlke scored off a Stoughton turnover with 9:34 left in the second period to make it 4-0.
Another Stoughton penalty gave Waupun another man advantage for five minutes, and the Warriors capitalized with two goals to put the running clock into effect. Baron Buchholz scored off assists from Carter Schramm and Daniel Benitez with 3:23 left in the second, and Malachi Buchholz netted his second goal eight seconds later.
Waupun tacked on four more goals in the third period. Jarrett Buchholz scored off his own rebound 47 seconds into the period, Dahlke scored his second goal a little less than two minutes later off assists from Quinn Baley and Sawyer Williamson, and Levey netted his second goal with 4:20 left. Malachi Buchholz completed his hat trick 51 seconds later off an assist from Jarrett Buchholz.
Stoughton sophomore goaltender Max Nihles made 38 saves in the first two periods and senior Quinn Ziemann (15 saves) took over in the third.
The Warriors outshot the Vikings 63-12, as Tyler Fromholz had 12 saves in the win.