Verona entered the new year ranked where it hopes to end the season: atop the Division 1 rankings in the Wisconsin Prep Hockey Coaches Poll.
The Wildcats continued their hot streak with a 6-2 home win over Big Eight Conference rival Madison West on Friday, Jan. 3.
Verona (12-1, 7-0 Big Eight) won its 10th straight game and completed a regular-season sweep of the Regents.
“When we’re going good, our guys can be a little too confident, so I have to deflate them a little bit,” Verona coach Joel Marshall said. “We’ve won some big games, but we’re still stressing that we have to play the right way. There’s still work to be done.”
The Wildcats started fast, as Keegan Lindell scored 2:15 into the game off a cross-ice pass from Leo Renlund. Josh Osting also assisted on the goal.
Parker Ploc scored a power-play goal amid a scrum in front of West goaltender Ian Hedican with 1:18 left in the first period. Ostling and Anthony Heinrichs assisted on the goal to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead.
Drew Yeager celebrated his 18th birthday by shoving home a rebound 2:34 into the second period. Lindell and Ryan Ritter collected the assists.
Cale Rufenacht corralled the puck after a turnover, and sent a pass to Ploc for his second goal with 4:50 left in the second. Yeager also assisted on the goal to give the Wildcats a 4-0 lead.
Ploc played on the first line in the final two periods after Walker Haessig exited after the first with an injury. Marshall said Haessig did not play the final two periods for “precautionary reasons.”
“Marshall told us to get pucks in deep and worked behind them,” Ploc said. “Our forwards were a lot stronger than their defensemen.”
Both teams scored a pair of power-play goals in the third period.
West trimmed its deficit to 4-2, as Eric Horein scored off an assist from Devin Huie 1:55 into the third, and Beckett Frey scored off a rebound with 10:36 left. Joe Schaak assisted on Frey’s goal.
Verona’s Nathan Jurrens scored with 3:17 left off passes from Rufenacht and Ostling, and Heinrichs scored with 34 seconds left off passes from Conrad Moline and Calvin Moioffer.
The Wildcats finished 3-for-6 on the power play and outshot the Regents 48-20. Kaden Grant made 18 saves in net.
West went 2-for-5 on the power play. Hedican had 42 saves.