Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday Recap: Madison Edgewood 3, Appleton 2

Madison Edgewood Robert Parman's helps Crusaders give goalie John Lehr and Appleton a semifinal facewash, move into title game Saturday afternoon.

Hall, Kapust Face Off for 2008 Title

Aviva Kapust reacts to news that she's favored to win her 2nd title.
So it comes down to this:

If Edgewood wins tomorrow, Bob Hall wins his first WSHSHP title.

If Eau Claire Memorial wins, Aviva Kapust wins her second WSHSHP crown.

Stay tuned.

Refs Ruin Commissioner's Fun; But Pool Must Go On

I should probably wait until the Vicodin kicks in before posting, but my schedule doesn't allow for such a luxury. Officiating played a huge role in yet another hotly contested game tonight, as Referee Kurt Beecher calls a penalty in the waning moments of the Superior/ECM contest to effectively ruin Superior's chances to tie the score. Admittedly, I wasn't there, but when has that ever stopped me from shouting "Conspiracy!" in a crowded ice rink? I'm hoping Trasher and company can clarify but from where I sit on the sunny side of the country, it's pretty disappointing to see four, count 'em, four otherwise great games profoundly impacted by a late call.

Exhibit A:
Mosinee is mounting a remarkable comeback against Edgewood when referee Tim Rowan whistles Mosinee's Alex Nass for interference, thus ruining Mosinee's man advantage with the goalie pulled. Mosinee still almost ties it with time running out, if only to spite the zebras.

Exhibit B:
Referee Karl Olm calls a tripping penalty on USM's Read Servis in overtime of the Wildcats game against Superior. Coach Roadhouse claims it was a good call. What say others?

Exhibit C:
Late in the third period of today's hard fought Appleton vs. Edgewood game, Appleton's Matt Pappe, clearly Appleton's biggest threat, gets benched for the remainder of the game when referee Jim Brown cites him for Unsportsmanlike Conduct. Mr. Hammett says it was for not having a mouthguard. Is this true? Would love to get the details on what really happened from someone in the know. Either way, Edgewood's post-game buzz has to be slightly killed by the knowledge they received (or devised) a huge advantage when the game was at its most critical juncture.

Exhibit D:
See my rant in intro regarding Tim Smith and his vicious blade.

That's 4 out of 6 games. Maybe all the calls were warranted, but I doubt it. The whole leaves me feeling vaguely nauseous and disgusted, but that might be due to the three It's It ice cream cookies I had for dinner.

Didn't See That One Coming; Karofsky Back in First

My math is always faulty; but here's how it looks like in the final dash for the finish...

1. Karofsky (237)
Wins pool with Superior win tonight and Superior win over Edgewood tomorrow.

2. Hall (224)
Wins pool with ECM win tonight and Edgewood win tomorrow.

3. Orta (223)
Has no chance of beating Hall, but great chance for Rookie of the Year honors.

4. Eldredge (222) Appleton over Superior
Out of contention.

5. Jobson (218)
Wins pool with Superior win tonight and Edgewood win tomorrow.

6. Kapust (206)
Wins pool if ECM wins tonight and ECM wins tomorrow.

Down Goes Eldredge, Down Goes Eldredge!

I'm going to withhold saying anything bad about the Cruskaters until there's more details about the no-mouthguard penalty that removed Appleton's best player from the game. But if it turns out some weasel ratted him out, I might just have to burn my EHS letterman's jacket (which I still wear to the mall occasionally to remind the ladies who's boss). Stand by.

I think we're about to see Bob Hall and John Orta leap over Eldredge for the top two slots on the board. Jobson in 4th, I think. Stand by.

Appleton Storms Back; Ties Game 2-2 Late in Third Period

If you listen carefully, you can John Eldredge yelping with joy.

Orta and Hall busted sharing a trembling hug.

Thursday Recap: Edgewood 5, Mosinee 4

Crusaders withstand furious Mosinee comeback (and a Kevin Radke hat trick) to hold on for 5-4 win.

Thursday Recap: Appleton 4, Rapids 0

Dustin Klitzke and The United (not the Patriots, Mr. Hammet; that's Appleton East) throw four lines at Rapids, wear down the Red Raiders.

Thursday Recap: Superior 6, USM 5

Superior's John LeDoux slips the puck past USM goaltender Jeff Dye to give Superior the win. I feel so bad for the Wildcats I won't even mention Cody Dixon's bizarre breezer stripes.

Thursday Recap: ECM 3, Janesville 1; "As Good As Advertised"

The Little Goalie Who Could: David Jacobson makes 23 saves; Bluebirds ring the pipe twice as Bluebirds gives the Old Abes all they can handle, much to the delight of Superior.

Strang Overcomes Mediocre Jersey Design, Ankle Injury

Sure, now that Cody Strang and Edgewood are one game away from the title game, they're getting tons of coverage from the Madison media. Reminds me of the time the ladies wouldn't talk to me until they heard I had front row seats for the Cinderella show at the Coliseum.

Two more reasons to root for Edgewood.

According to MJ Hammet:

"The Strang Brothers; they both have the nice mullets."

More Evidence of Mr. Moe's Shady Past

A passing motorist (Oliver Albrecht) spotted this license plate near the gated community of Westlake Village. Erik Moe wants us to believe his "acting" career is over. Oh, really.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Badger Bob Johnson Was Right.

It was certainly a great day for hockey.

The last match was simply incredible. Superior and USM exchanging goals, back and forth, until sudden death ripped the Wildcats' hearts asunder. Yes, I wept. Not with disappointment. But with utter joy for having witnessed, through the narrative stylings of MJ Hammet and Coach Susens, athletic endeavor in its purest, most glorious form. Well done, lads, both on the ice and in the broadcast booth, well done.

On to the leader board:

Tricky Eldredge (222) widened his lead to 16 points over Aviva Kapust (206). Don't think those play-in games count? Don't tell that to Gloves Off Middendorf (205) or Andy Karofsky (205), who trail Kapust by a single point. (Curse you, Baraboo Thunderbirds!)

Erik Moe (203) is a dead man walking with the Mosinee loss, so is Tracy DeLuca, but with ECM still on the board, both can certainly stick around long enough to play spoiler. Wayne Lee (201) is lurking in 5th and look out for him if Superior and Appleton win tomorrow. Ditto for Chris Batty (196) if it's Appleton vs. ECM in Saturday's final.

Sorry, Indy Rudy, the WR loss sealed your fate, but an Edgewood/ECM final sounds really good to Bob Hall (9th, 192 points) and John Orta (10th, 191).

New Top 10 After Three Games



Big Ice Breakdown #4: Superior vs. USM

Downtown Superior, Wisconsin (with Duluth in the background).
DOWNTOWNS
Wow, both are bleak in their own ways. I can't claim to have ever spent any quality time in downtown Superior, but from the looks of it, I'm starting to understand why some residents resort to animal necrophilia when February slows to a crawl. To be honest, though, downtown Milwaukee after 10 PM holds about as much excitement as a series-ending episode of Wings. Just the buildings are taller.
ADVANTAGE: DRAW

FAMOUS RESIDENTS

Superior is home to the greatest coach in the history of professional football, Bud Grant. Milwaukee has nurtured the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Mark Borchardt, Gordan Gano, Al Jerreau, Bob Uecker, Gene Wilder, Jerry Zucker, and Colleen Dewhurst. Unfortuantely for Milwaukee, none of them is Bud Grant.
ADVANTAGE: SUPERIOR

MASCOT
Spartans vs. Wildcat. Almost exciting as their respective downtowns.
ADVANTAGE: DRAW

PLAYOFF PEDIGREE
Simply put, if the State Tourney was a tavern, Superior would be the Lowenbrau. The numbers are simply galling. They've been to the Big Ice 31 times, winning the whole thing 12 times, finishing second 11. This is their 7th straight trip to Madison. We should all reflect in a silence for a moment at the sheer magnitude of that accomplishment. USM ain't too shabby, either, considering Superior has a two decade head start on them. (Private schools weren't allowed into the tourney until much later in the game.) The Wildcats have been to Madison six of the last seven years, even won it once in 2006 (much to the horror of the late, great Oakie Brumm).
ADVANTAGE: SUPERIOR

CONFERENCE NAME
Neither team can call a conference a home. They're loners, playing all comers, shaping their own destiny, and gaining the valuable experience and seasoning that's not reflected in their less than stellar records. (Hey, Onalaska, you try going undefeated playing the likes of Duluth Marshall a couple times a year.)
ADVANTAGE: DRAW

COOL NAMES
Couldn't find much here. Superior does have a player by the name of Delaine Goodell but that's about it in the cool name category. USM's roster most interesting claim to coolness is the fact that three brothers are listed: Ian, Michael, and Billy Crimmons. Advantage Superior until I remembered the coaches. Never, ever vote against a man by the name of Cal Roadhouse.
ADVANTAGE: USM

UNIFORM DESIGN

Granted, Superior starts with a poor base color. You just don't see much call for Powder Blue these days, but they seem to have minimized it this year, at least with the home jerseys. Not crazy about the shoulder logo but the Rangers-like lettering works extremely well.

USM's design intrigues me. Yes, the striping is unbalanced. And, yes, the choice of a universal white helmet is a mistake. Details, people; if you're going with one helmet color, the dark blue would balance things out much better. But I like the gold jersey, and the home and away jerseys work well together. A Wildcat can feel proud wearing either.
ADVANTAGE: USM

Taking all these factors into careful consideration, and giving bonus points for superior uniform design, my adjusted prediction: Superior 6, USM 5 (8 OTs)

Janesville Wins My Heart; Loses Game

You know the expression. The pipes are the goaltender's best friend. Old Abes goaltender should get down on bended knee, and ask his crossbar to marry him. Old Abes prevail in nervous fashion, 3-1.

Greg Mills, you sir, are a champion in your own right. Speaking on behalf of everyone at WSHSHP HQ, we thank you for your boldness, your charm, and your prayers. Best of luck next year.

Jacobsen Keeping the Bluebirds Aloft, ECM Leads By One


Two periods down. ECM shelling Janesville goalie David Jacobson but he's hanging in there. Makes spectacular glove save at buzzer to keep things 1-0.

Is ECM getting frustrated? Does the Pope wear a tall hat? Stay tuned.

Especially you, Gregory Mills.

Appleton 4, Rapids 0; Trasher in Mourning

Two down, two to go on Super Thursday.

Tricky Eldredge (190 points) has shook himself free from Aviva Kapust and now stands alone on top, but just barely. Breathing right down is neck is the oldest competitor in the field, Gloves Off Middendorf (189 points) with--Great Ceasar's Ghost!--Chris Batty (180 points) enjoying the bronze medal position (at least until he realizes it has nothing to do with sex).

Kapust (174) holds down the 4 spot, Karofsky (173) sticking around at #5, and a tiring Mills (172) slips all the way down to #6, just ahead of already resigned Erik Moe (171). Wayne Lee (169) looking strong at 169. DeLuca (165) simply refuses to leave the Top 10 party, and a shell-shocked Lucas Rudy (162) clings to the final spot with the desperation of a adventurer/archeologist clinging to the Shroud of Talmud.

Next faceoff at 3 PM PST. Stand by.

We Have New Co-Leaders!

Lots of new faces in the Top 10 after Game 1 on Super Thursday:

For the first time in pool history, John "Tricky" Eldredege finds himself in the top slot, sharing the podium with, drum roll please, Aviva Kapust! (174 points)

One point behind is the predictable pairing of Gloves Off Middendorf and Andy Karofsky. (173 points)

Greg Mills is still very much a factor in third slot (172 points).

Tracy DeLuca is still sticking around in 4th (165 points) , but has no chance with Fondy out, but Christopher "Bright Lights, Big City" Batty (164 points) is still very much in the thick of things with ECM still on the board.

Lucas Rudy (162 points) takes a big hit, slipping into the 6 slot, just two pints ahead of the surging Bob Hall (160 points) and, who's this, John Orta (159 points)?

Brian Koby refuses to leave the Top 10, while Dylan DiBona, like Punxsutawney Phil sniffing around for his shadow, makes a brief but memorable appearance in the final Top 10 opening.

Sweet Jesus!

I just shrieked out loud in a crowded office environment, much to the chagrin of my cube mates. Mosinee almost ties it up with time running out, but bow out, 5-4, to Edgewood.

Good show, boys, on both ends of the ice. Now let's shake hands.

Oh, oh...

Edgewood 5, Mosinee 4.

Two and a half minutes left.

God, this is riveting.

Things Getting Ugly in Game #1

After two, it's Edgewood 5, Mosinee 1.

Sadly, only one Edgewood grad can be found among the contingent who chose Edgewood to take the title. Hats off to Tom Grantham ('82) for his loyalty as Edgewood appears to march on, much to the joy of non-contenders Bob Hall, John Orta, Oliver Albrecht, Mark Jobson, Shauna Rudy, and Ivo Knezevic.

Look for all of them look to surge up the standings in less than a half hour.

The Greatest Day of the Year!

Four games. One day. All of it delivered right to your desk. Starting less than an hour!

Join MJ Hammett and Coach Pete Susens as they cover every check, every shot, every valiant stride toward hockey's holiest of grails.

Click here to find the streaming link.

Make sure to check out the Stats section to see the up-to-the-minute game stats while you're there.

Dylan, hold my calls.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Big Ice Breakdown #3: Eau Claire Memorial vs. Janesville


HOMETOWNS
Should I be concerned that all my recollections about Wisconsin seem to center around drinking? I want to get that out there before I mention Eau Claire's Water Street, home to the highest concentration of bars per block in all of Wisconsin. (No wonder Eau Claire was named one of America's 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2007.) Another plus: its proximity to the Minnesota border means you can admit you're a Viking fan without fear of reprisal, which is no small grace in a universe of cheeseheads.

Water Street, Eau Claire, WI
In contrast, the only real image I can conjure up of the Janesville area is that of the farmhouse where my furniture deliveryman partner used to procure his meth before driving us back to Madison in a watery-eyed daze. Good times.
ADVANTAGE: ECM

FAMOUS CITIZENS

Eau Claire, Wisconsin is the home of Sarah Krueger, who made it all the way to Hollywood in last season's American Idol, Mary Brunner, the girlfriend of notorious hockey fan Charles Manson, and Ann Landers. Lots of notables have called Janesville home, including poet Ella Wheeler Cox, Mistie Williams of the WNBA's Houston Comets, and Tad Kubler, guitarist for Twin Cities favs, The Hold Steady. Oh, and three, count 'em, three Medal of Honor winners hail from J-town.
ADVANTAGE: JANESVILLE

TEAM MASCOT
Old Abes versus Bluebirds. (Sorry, guys, but I'd sooner play xylophone in my junior high school band before I played for a team called the Bluebirds. Wait, I did play xylophone in my junior high school band. Never mind.) Did you know "Old Abe" is the famous eagle mascot of the Wisconsin 8th Infantry? I'll admit to attending a cockfight or three during my Angry Phase, but there's no way I'll stand idly by and watch an eagle disembowel a bluebird. Unless, of course, they were serving French Fries.
ADVANTAGE: ECM

STATE TOURNEY PEDIGREE
Eau Claire Memorial is making its ninth appearance at state and its third in the last four years. And boy are they pissed. They were supposed to win last year but choked on an ample helping of Fondy stew. They've taken out their profound disappointment on every opponent they've encountered since then. How ugly has it been? They've outscored their opposition 156-19 on their way to a 23-0 record. Yeesh. Janesville is back only for the third time, but who can forget their last run in 2005 when they beat four consecutive teams in overtime (including #1 seed Madison Memorial) before losing a a 2-1 heartbreaker in the semis? Their Rocky-like performance captured the hearts of the readers of this blog, nay, it captured the hearts of a nation. Still, ECM looks unbeatable.
ADVANTAGE: ECM

CONFERENCE NAME
ECM hails from the Big Rivers Conference and while the name conjures up unpleasant memories of my recent bout with the flu, it's still pretty cool. Janesville comes from the Big Eight Conference. You know who else comes from the Big Eight conference? Only Kenosha High School Hall of Famers Ron Rudy and Alan Ameche, the greatest backfield in the history of prep football. Sorry, ECM, but blood, like my nightly mugful of cough syrup, is thicker than water. Janesville pulls off the shocking upset in this category.
ADVANTAGE: JANESVILLE

COOL PLAYER NAMES
With the exception of little used goaltender Saxton Soley, Jefferson Dahl, and perhaps Will Fadness, there's nothing too cool-sounding on ECM's side, though there are tons of guys who sound like hockey players: Connor Moe, Brady Sand, Brady Keegan, and Cody Bollinger. Janesville offers up the accounting firm of Geldard, Buggs, and Mauermann.
ADVANTAGE: ECM

UNIFORM DESIGN
I'm not going to sugarcoat this: 2008 ain't a banner year for uniforms on the Big Ice. Not crazy about ECM's new cartoony logo. Hard to tell if it's an eagle or a constipated duck.


On the other side of faceoff, when Janesville Parker and Janesville Craig merged to form the current Janesville program, uniform designers found themselves in the unenviable task of trying to merge two divergent color schemes.

While the results are respectable given the circumstances (love the numbers over the shoulder swatch), there are problems. We here at WSHSP HQ despise cutsie hockey icons, so anything with a puck as part of the logo causes us much grief. We're also not big fans of names on the backs of jerseys, at least on the prep level. Last time I checked, there was no Tralmer in T-E-A-M, guys. I can't with a clean conscience declare a winner here. You can both leave the runway.
ADVANTAGE: DRAW

Taking all these factors into careful consideration, my adjusted prediction for Thursday's first game: ECM 19, Janesville 2

Next: Superior vs. University School

Look Who's Riding Like the Wind!

I don't want to come right out and say that one of our own has a shady past in soft porn, but check out this interesting tidbit from the Information Superhighway:



This is my favorite part.

Two interesting facts.

Leave the "the" out the URL for this blog and you get a teenager's sardonic appraisal of his trip to Knott's Berry Farm in 2004.

Drop the "b" in blogspot and you get "a mega-site of Bible, Christian and religious information and studies. By God's mercy, one of the largest Bible-centered sites on the web (app. 6000 pgs). If it's in the Bible, it should be on this site."

These discoveries are both the result of rushed typing on this reporter's part. The moral of this story: Be careful out there, kids.

Breaking News

Hoping to take full advantage of the momentum generated by his 30th place ranking, Kevin Brown has released a full line of motivational merchandise. Details to follow.

Trasher Speaks: "The game is played on ice, not paper."

Trasher Knows His Hich School Hockey. We found this interesting item on the Wisconsin Prep Hockey site. This is the sort of relevant information you'll never receive from the Commissioner:
Just for kicks, I went back and checked to see who played at state the last three years to see how many "player games" each team has.

The list is not 100% accurate, because for the most part I have no way of telling if the rostered player actually played in the games.

That being said, here it is:

Superior--51
USM--33
ECM--31
WR--22
Janesville--10
Mad Edge--0
Mosinee--0
Appleton--0

This is Appleton's first state appearance, while Madison Edgewood has not been at state since 2001.

Some of the Mosinee players were not even born when the Indians made their last trip in 1992.

Before using the experience trump card, let it be known that in the last eight tourneys since 2000, the most experienced team has only won twice:
Superior (2005) and USM (2006).

What does it really mean?

The game is played on the ice and not on paper.

Good luck to all and LET'S PLAY HOCKEY!
_________________
Michael Trzinski
Editor
Wis Prep Hockey

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Big Ice Breakdown #2: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln vs. Appleton Co-op

HOMETOWNS
Hmmm. Hard to be objective here. True, I was once detained (but not arrested) in Wisconsin Rapids for repeatedly throwing myself against a plate glass window somewhere near HollyRocks Tavern, but the officer was extremely cordial, and I remember the downtown area as being very nice. Quiet. A good place to pen a novel. On the other hand, I spent almost four relatively happy years in Appleton, attending one of the finest universities in all the Fox Valley.
ADVANTAGE: APPLETON

FAMOUS CITIZENS
The South has no monopoly on quality NASCAR drivers. Dick Trickle hails from Rapids, as does actress Bonnie Bartlett and former NFL player Scott Scharff. (He now plays for Team Alabama in the All-American Football League scheduled to kick off this fall. I smell a new blog...) Notables who have called Appleton home include Harry Houdini, Willem Dafoe and Greta Van Susteren.
ADVANTAGE: APPLETON

TEAM MASCOT
Red Raiders versus The United. What is this, Appleton, soccer? No singular team names welcome here. I have spoken.
ADVANTAGE: RAPIDS

STATE TOURNEY PEDIGREE
Rapids is making its sixth appearance at state, all of them coming since 2001. Appleton is making its inaugural appearance at state after FINALLY clearing the Fondy Hump (which also happens to be a popular dance move at the Pirate's Cove on Free Vulcan Mind Probe Nite). Appleton has tons more talent, four lines deep, but we have yet to see how The United will respond under the big lights. Rapids doesn't have that doubt.
ADVANTAGE: RAPIDS

CONFERENCE NAME
Rapids joins us from the Wisconsin Valley conference, while Appleton hails from the Badgerland South. Granted, Badgerland South sounds slightly better than Badger South, but that's like saying getting stabbed in the eye with a 28 gauge needle feels slightly better than getting stabbed in the scrotum with a Phillips head screwdriver.
ADVANTAGE: RAPIDS

COOL PLAYER NAMES
This one's a surprisngly tough call. Rapids comes at us with Ethan Ambroziak, Sawyer Daze, and, of course, Palani Apauakehau. Appleton's roster reads like the cast of a T.J Hooker episode. "J.D. Luck is Bannerman, P.I. With Tommy Westmark as Baby Red, Nick Janssen as Sgt. Fahrenholtz. And guest starring Bucky Zimmerman as Diablo..."
ADVANTAGE: RAPIDS

UNIFORM DESIGN
I know this might shock some of you, but this reporter couldn't dredge up a single photo of Rapids' uniforms. Where's Trasher when you need him? The editors and staff at The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune should be ashamed of the scant photo coverage they've devoted to the Red Raiders this season. Lord, Rapids is returning to state for the sixth time in, what, seven years, and you don't have a single photo gallery on your paper's web site that a humble blog can steal from? Inexcusable. I expect this sort of condescension from the Madison and Milwaukee papers, but not in the middle of Wood County. I was in the awkward position of asking the Rapids JV Cheer Team to step in as representatives when I remembered an earlier Tribune photo that could be repurposed here:
(By the way, this is what the Red Raiders' locker room looks like. No Barry Bonds massage chairs here, folks. This place has all the charm of a Gwar ballad, but that's just the way the Red Raiders like it.)

Still, we have problems here. Sure, the Rapids logo is superior to the boring Colorado Avalanche wannabe logo that is Appleton's, but a truly outstanding hockey uniform has to take in the whole picture to work. The rest of Rapids' uni is pretty retro; think the CCCP team from Miracle on Ice. Awesome in a Penn State sort of way. So slapping a more contemporary logo into the mix is like, well, placing a formal doormat in front of quaint mountain cottage.

As for Appleton, I love the Giants style third color for the number, and the lack of nameplates, but the logo's design and lackluster size are a problem. Also troublesome: some of the players' insist on tucking in their jerseys like it's 1987. I'm going to have to go with Rapids on this one.
ADVANTAGE: RAPIDS

Conclusion: I'm fairly certain Rapids is going to take a beating on Thursday but no matter how bleak it gets, I want Ambro and company to take comfort in the fact that the INTANGIBLE INDEX has them taking home a substantial win. Adjusted score: Wisconsin Rapids: 11, Appleton 7.

Tomorrow: Superior vs. Janesville

Oliver Albrecht Responds

"While not the most flattering picture (I had that third hand removed last fall), it is a testament to my own physical prowess."

So, apparently, is this one:

A Retraction..

A friend of a friend informs this office that Ms. Kapust objects to her latest photo this blog. Please know, Ms. Kapust, that the offending phot has been removed, and replaced by this one.

More Hate Mail

I slave for you people, sacrifice family, work and the respect of my colleagues (not to mention ex-girlfriends), and this is the sort of appreciation you show me?
Shame on you for not picking your alma mater to win the tournament.

Shame on you for picking against them in the next game.

Shame on you for trying to pass yourself off as the spry young fellow in this picture. It's not the abundance of hair that makes me doubt the true identity of this player. It's the Captain's "C" on his chest that makes me proclaim, "Bullshit." Certainly the Crusaders had some broader shoulders to lean on than the frail Rudy frame.

Then again, maybe the present is not so different from the past. Excerpt from Madison.com: "The Crusaders finally broke through behind something they are not always known for -- physicality."
Shame on me, Oliver Albrecht? Shame on you, sir!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Big Ice Breakdown #1: Mosinee vs. Edgewood

Mosinee forward Kevin Radke successfully lands a triple sow-cow in Saturday's win over Wausau West, much to the delight of teammate/pairs partner Bryan Swiderski.
Hey, any Wisconsin State High School Hockey blog can break down the stats and power rankings for Thursday's Clash of Titans, but only at The Big Ice will find a serious discussion of the all-important INTANGIBLES that can make or break a champion. So let's take a look at Thursday's first contest between Mosinee and Madison Edgewood. On paper, it looks like an easy win for Edgewood, (and as a proud alumnus of EHS, I shall be pulling for them) but after taking a closer look at the match-ups below, I'm getting a little nervous.

DOWNTOWNS
Mosinee (population 4,186) has the quaint sort of downtown most advertising creatives fantasize about when they imagine bailing on next week's pitch and retiring somewhere in America's Heartland. (Dinger's Sports Bar on Main Street, for example, is a place any man can call home, and this man most likely will once his divorce is finalized.) But Madison's downtown is the stuff of legend. Far too many of this reporter's tears and beers have been spilled on the hallowed cobblestones of State Street for me to be objective on this one. I trust Eric Lachter will back me on this one.
ADVANTAGE: MADISON EDGEWOOD

FAMOUS CITIZENS
Mosinee's most famous residents include NASCAR driver Kevin Cywinski (left) and Jazz/Blues recording artist John Altenburgh. Famous Madisonians include past and future hockey legends (Mark Johnson, the Suter brothers, Phil Kessel, etc.), plus the late, great Chris Farley, pop sensations The And, and current Chip Krauss man-crush, Bradley Whitford. No-brainer, even with the huge population advantage.
ADVANTAGE: MADISON EDGEWOOD




TEAM MASCOT

Mosinee has the Indians. Edgewood answers to the Crusaders. Yawn.
ADVANTAGE: DRAW

STATE TOURNEY PEDIGREE
Mosinee is back on the Big Ice for the first time in 16 years (5th appearance overall.) Edgewood is making only its third appearance, but after a much shorter 7 year drought. Tie breaker: Mosinee great Pat Grzadzielewski holds the record for the most goals in a state tourney game (5 against Janseville Craig in 1972). Pat, you had us at Grzadzielewski.
ADVANTAGE: MOSINEE

CONFERENCE NAME
Mosinee plays in the Lumberjack Conference. Edgewood plays in the Badger South. Are you kidding me? My God, even Mark Krajan could come up with a better name if you gave him enough Red Bull.
ADVANTAGE: MOSINEE

COOL PLAYER NAMES
Pretty disappointing. Edgewood does have a Zach Addamo, but Mosinee's roster has a Chase Drake, as well as five Yirkovsky's, two Swiderskis, an Ostrowski, a Michalski, and, yes, yet another Grzadsielewski (which might explain why Mosinee is the proud home of this must-see event.)
ADVANTAGE: MOSINEE

UNIFORM DESIGN
Anyone who has followed this pool knows that this is the intangible that matters most. And as much as it pains me to turn my back on the maroon and gold I once so proudly wore, I think Mosinee takes this one. Edgewood's white home uniforms have some potential, but then I saw the numbers on the back. Way too small, with too much space between the bottom of the numerals and the top of the waist piping, which even Marion knows is a fatal fashion flaw. And the busy lettering and piping design doesn't make an elegant transition to the darker away jerseys. Compare that color cacophony to Mosinee's simple tri-color design. Big logo. Big numbers. Big win. ADVANTAGE: MOSINEE

Taking all these factors into careful consideration, and giving bonus points for superior uniform design, my prediction for Thursday's first game: Mosinee 17, Madison Edgewood 5

Tomorrow: Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln vs. Appleton United

Hey, Tricky, This Doormat Formal Enough for You?

Mr. John "Tricky" Eldredge would have you believe that my description of him as a "formal doormat" is some sort of typo, that what I meant to say was he is a "former doormat." My response? How dare you, sir! To suggest you have insight into the labyrinthine furnace of my mind suggests an arrogance that has no place in this sacred forum. Lest you think this outrage is some sort of desperate attempt on my part to cover up for a Kaopectate-induced error, may I direct you to the following quote from Outdoor.com, one of the world's leading authorities on doormat design:
Just as a formal doormat would look strangely out of place for a cottage-style garden, a cutesy style doormat wouldn't look right with a formal topiarized front yard. There's a variety of styles you can pick from - wooden door mats, the coir/fiber type door mat, even cast aluminum door mats for that unique look.
How do you like them apples, John? You are such a basshole.

Thursday's Line-Up

Madison Veterans Memorial Coliseum (aka THE BIG ICE)

Thursday - 11:00
Mosinee vs. Madison Edgewood

Thursday - 1:15
Wisconsin Rapids vs. Appleton United

Thursday - 5:00
Eau Claire Memorial vs. Janesville

Thursday - 7:15
Superior vs. University School

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Mills Claws His Way Back Into First; Kapust, Lee Make Their Moves

In yet another stunning lead change, Greg Mills finds himself back atop the WSHSHP standings, ten points ahead of a shockingly ambivalent Lucas Rudy, and 14 points ahead of both John "Tricky" Eldredge and Aviva Kapust.

Introducing the enigma that is Aviva Kapust.
While formal doormat Eldredge's strong showing in 2008 is a feel-good story in itself, former champion Kapust's resurgence has been nothing less than stunning. After a disastrous first round that had all but her most faithful devotees writing her off as one-hit wonder, Kapust is suddenly a contender for the title, with only the younger Rudy ahead of her on the crowded Eau Claire Memorial bandwagon. But Eldredge and Mills are in even better shape, due in large part to their maverick choices for state champ (Appleton and Janesville, respectively).

But Kapust isn't the only pool veteran enjoying a resurgence in the standings. Look who else has joined mainstays Andy Karosky and Gloves Off Middendorf in the Top 10? Erik Moe finds himself alone once more, but this time it's in the #5 slot of the WSHSHP standings instead of the Westlake Village Steak & Stein at last call. Wayne "Chuckles" Lee and the always obnoxious John Stephens are right behind Moe with 153 points apiece.

Sadly, Tracy DeLuca is now on a farewell spiral/tour down through the rankings as she joins the likes of Peter Rudy and Craig Ness in learning that the Wisconsin High School Hockey Pool is no place for loyalty, even if it's to the once mighty Fon du Lac Cardinals. In other news,
Chris Batty has finally rid himself of the cloying clutches of Juliana Cobb, and Saturday's upset in Wausau once again opened the Top 10 door to pretenders Joe McCormack and Nanuk Cathers, not to mention direct mail copy guru Robert Hall.

And there you have it. All slots for The Big Ice have been filled, with next week's quarterfinals going a long way to clarifying thw WSHSHP's murky standings. Eau Claire Memorial takes on Janesville, settling the Greg Mills mystery once and for all. Superior battles University School, Mosinee hopes to continue its hot streak against Madison Edgewood, and Wisconsin Rapids will do its damndest to prove experience means more than talent against a highly favored Appleton United squad. Stand by.

Flu Bug Sweeps Through WSHSHP HQ; Commissioner Vows to Press On

Amid rumors swirling around his family's premature termination of their ski trip due to "health reasons," a pale Commissioner appeared before reporters today to reassure hockey fans everywhere that the Wisconsin State High School Hockey Pool will go on as planned.

"It's true that the flu bug has exacted a savage toll on key members of this hockey pool family," he said during the somber news conference. "No one has been spared. Not my sons. Not my wife. Not even me. But let me assure you that neither projectile vomiting nor hallucinatory fever shall keep this office from performing its most sacred duty. I'm in charge here."

Asked to explain the soiled boxer briefs bearing the WSHSHP logo found alongside Highway 4 late Saturday afternoon, the Commissioner offered a terse "no comment" before rushing from the dais.

Sectional Results from Friday and Saturday

Oh, yeah, baby! Mosinee heads to The Big Ice for the first time in 16 years!
Mosinee 6, Wausau West 3
Never underestimate the power of a hot goaltender. Mosinee freshman goaltender Wade Michalski weathers Wausau West onslaught, notches 44 saves in 6-3 upset of Wausau West.

Superior 6, River Falls 1
Coach Jason Kalin takes the Spartans to the Big Ice for the seventh straight year with a 6-1 thrashing of River Falls.

Eau Claire Memorial to Superior: "We must break you."
Eau Claire Memorial 5, Lakeland 0
Can anyone stop Eau Claire Memorial? Much to the delight of rookie Lucas Rudy, the undefeated Old Abes have outscored their opposition 26-1 as they steamroll their way to Madtown.

Appleton United 4, Fon du Lac 3
Who says you can't beat a good team three times in one season? Not Appleton United, the only team to beat Fon du Lac this season. The last victory ends the Cardinals hopes of repeating as state champions.

University School 3, Germantown 1
University School ends Germantown's Cinderella run with a hardfought 3-1 victory. Freshman sensation Simon Leahy scores twice, proving that big things often come in small packages.

Wisconsin Rapids 3, Sparta 2 (OT)
Speaking of Cinderella, the Sparta/West Salem/Bangor Vipers take Wisconsin Rapids into overtime before their Zamboni turns into a pumpkin. Sawyer Naze redirects the game winner.

The Bluebirds take flight for Madison.
Janesville 2, Stoughton 1 (OT)
The Greg Mills camp is thrilled with Janesville's OT victory over Stoughton. The Vike's oustanding goaltender Andrew Martin calls it "the worst feeling in the world." Griffin Rudy agrees.

Madison Edgewood 4, Middleton 0
The Cruskaters get physical with the bigger Cards, pays off with 4-0 victory and a showdown with Mosinee in Madison.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Back and Forth, Back and Forth...Karofsky Knocks Mills Out of First, Shares Top Spot with DeLuca and Middendorf

Like two prize fighters standing toe to toe in the steamy ring of life, Andy Karofsky and Greg Mills continue to exchange staggering blows in one is quickly becoming one of the most see-saw battles in Wisconsin State High School Hockey Pool history. When the bell sounded on Friday's round of action, Karofsky found himself one single point ahead of Mills and back at the head of the pack. Karofsky shares that spot with defending champion Tracy DeLuca and Ed "Gloves Off" Middendorf, who continues to astound the hockey world with deadly accurate predictions that can only be explained by performance-enhancing drugs.

Mills, no stranger to chemical enhancement himself, holds down sole possession of second, while a drug-free Lucas Rudy is solidly in the bronze with 130 points.

Brian Koby has yet to pay the price for his Arrowhead selection, and is presently overstaying his welcome in the fourth spot with 125 points. And is anyone surprised that Chris Batty and Juliana Cobb are still inextricably bound to one another in the fifth place spot with 124 points? I feel romance in the air, although both parties vehemently deny it. When reached for comment in his East Village apartment, Batty quoted from the movie Rocky, claiming, "I dunno, she's got gaps, I got gaps, together we fill gaps." Indeed.

Others moving up on Friday include Joe "Oscilloscope" McCormack and Oliver Albrecht, another unlikely pairing that now holds down the #6 slot, having dropped Erik Moe, who finds himself once again as irrelevant as yesterday's edition of the Wausau Daily Herald.

Moving up to fill the #7 slot is none other than Griffin Rudy and what's this? Perennial also-ran Bob "Green Party" Hall has latched his wagon to the wily Tony Landgraf and found himself in the Top 10 for the first time since Bush won his second election. Look out, kids. Landgraf is on the move. And this time he has friends.

Another rookie with all his eggs in the Cruskater basket is John Orta. His faith in the maroon and gold paid dividends this evening, vaunting him once again into the Top 10, just one point ahead of the fading Peter Rudy. Sharing the tenth spot with the elder Rudy is John "Tricky" Eldredge and--excuse me?--Aviva Kapust. Can that possibly be right? Excuse me while I check my figures.

More on the also rans tomorrow.

Edgewood 4, Middleton 0

Stand by for details and new rankings.

Tonight's Matchup: Middleton vs. Edgewood

Brad Jerzewski could make the difference in tonight's highly anticipated Sectional 6 showdown between Middleton and Madison Edgewood.
There's only one sectional final slated tonight, but it is a doozy, pitting arch rivals Middleton (16-4-2) against the high-flying Crusaders of Madison Edgewood (20-2). This one should be one for the ages. Edgewood is led by hot-head Nick Porchetta (42 points, 66 penalty minutes) but with Cody Strang (2.54 points per game average) back in the lineup, Middleton has two potent weapons to deal with if they want to make it the Big Ice. No one on the well-balanced Cards has more than 10 goals on the year, but they're well-coached and play smart hockey (e.g., few penalties), though they did lose their cool toward the end of this season's only tilt with Edgewood, a 3-1 loss that saw Ryan Reisdorf receive a rare game misconduct for a check from behind. It might come down to how well the team's respective goaltenders handle the pressure, as both Alex Strassman and Brad Jerzewski likely to see a lot of rubber.

A lot of pool participants are counting on an Edgewood victory, while Andy Karofsky can make a break from the back with a Middleton win. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Don't Mess With "Gloves Off"

Greg Mills might want to watch his back. "Gloves Off" Middendorf is apparently not a man to be trifled with, as these photos can attest. (Not sure what weight class we're talking about here, but I'm pretty sure it has a "bantam," "feather" or "stretch" as part of its name.)
"First knockdown of three in my 3rd round KO of Tony Kast - Fight Night Championship, Santa Clara, May, 1961"
"Tony Kast knocked out." (Apparently Tony's lucky black sock wasn't so lucky.)

Can You Spot the Celebrity in this Photo?

I must get the Missus to put the Wisconsin State Hockey Tournament on her calendar as once again I find myself "on vacation" during those most important two week of the year. Sorry I'll won't be my usual verbose self for a couple days, but I hope others, in the true spirit of the Wisconsin State High School Hockey Pool, will pick up the slack.

Take Erik Moe, for example. He sends me these photos of a famous celebrity playing high school hockey. (JV hockey, but who's counting when a celebrity is involved?) That's good hustle, Mr. Moe. Can you guess who it is?

To show my gratitude, I am throwing in this rare 1982 photo of Erik carrying the puck up the ice again a John Stephens-led University School.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Best Quote of the Day

Overhead my 8-year-old son talking to himself this morning as he sat upon the toilet:
"It seems we have reached an impasse."

Another Cautionary Tale from the Northland

He might not be much of a high school hockey fan, but Eric Lachter knows a good story when he sees one. I think I know why the northern teams get such good coverage from the press up there. There's obviously a shortage of things to do come winter time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Germantown Has Cool Jerseys? I Think Not.

Hey, I love a good Cinderella story as much as the next gal, but let's not carried away here. Granted, the black and white color scheme is nice. Reminds me of the old St. Mary's Springs uniforms in the 80s. But come on, take a closer look at the logo. Strictly USFL, kids. They should have stuck with the simple lettering. I have spoken.

Berkeley Bruiser Claws His Way Back to First; Hockey Pool Stunned by Two Upsets

Greg Mills receives word of his leaderboard status on the set of a Lita Ford video shoot. He was overhead commenting, "I signed up for a hockey pool?"
I told you Greg "Buns" Mills was not done. Tuesday night featured two stunning upsets--Sparta over previously undefeated Onalaska and, get this, the Germantown Ice Bears over an Arrowhead team still reeling from my vitriolic rant against their fashion sense--but Mills still went 14-2 on the night. Apparently his River Falls over Hudson call was good enough to catapult him over Andy Karofsky into sole possession of first place.

Karofsky stays very much in the fight, just seven points out of the picture. He joins defending champ Tracy DeLuca and ancient rookie Ed Middendorf in second place with 125 points, while cocky newcomer Lucas Rudy holds down the third place spot with an impressive 122 points.

The rest of the Top 10 looks like this:

Pete "Love Hammer" Rudy
remains a contender in fourth place with 118 points, though his unwise love affair with Monona Grove will prove his downfall. Likewise, Brian Kobylinski should enjoy his 48 hours in the Top 10, as he went with Arrowhead to win it all this year, and must now brace himself for a Leif Garret-like plunge into obscurity.

Try as she might, Juliana Cobb just can't rid herself of Chris Batty, who continues to amaze hockey pool veterans with a stunningly coherent bracket that has him tied with his arch nemesis for sixth place with 116 points. (Sorry, Juliana, women far more determined than you have tried to shake Batty from their lives, with the same maddening results.)

Erik Moe, presently sequestered in a Comfort Inn outside Santa Ana, California, is making a brief stop in the Top 10 with 115 points, sharing the #7 slot with advertising icon Joe McCormack and ex-marine Oliver Albrecht.

Another member of the WSHSP's proudest family, 6-year-old Griffin Rudy, bounced back from a gruesome tooth injury incurred while biting down on a whip brandished by his older sibling, is riding Stoughton to the #8 spot (114 points).

Brash-talker and notorious freeloader John Stephens (who hasn't paid his pool dues in two years; excellent example for your students, headmaster) is neck-and-neck with a remarkably svelte Wayne Lee (113 points each) and, don't look now, but like a thoroughbreed finally acknowledging the sting of his rider's crop, Tony "Coach" Landgraf appears to be making his move. He holds down the #10 spot with Johnny "Ironman" Rader, who would add a witty comment here, but he's too busy shopping for a spandex unitard for his next fitness event.

More news to follow. God bless you all. And God bless Wisconsin High School Hockey!

Ben Ramirez? You, sir, are a genius. (And apparently a drunk as well.)

Did anyone else pick Sparta over Onalaska? Now's your time to shine!

Tonight's Predictions: Sectional 8

(8) Germantown @ (1) Arrowhead
This one's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. Germantown could have cool uniforms, but I'll never know, so I'm going to go with what I know: the ultra-cool logo of the Warhawks. (Cripes, the name ain't bad, either.) But oh no, look at the redesigned "Duran Duran Meets Knight Rider" racing stripe uniform! This atrocity makes Ricky's prom dress (Episode 7, Season 4 of Project Runway) look positively tasteful. I want to change my vote! Too late? Screw you, Commissioner!
Commish's Predictions: Arrowhead 3, Germantown 1

(6) Brookfield @ (2) University School
I'm liking what I see in the Wildcats. They're coming on strong just when they need it. And their tough schedule is starting to pay dividends. If you had told me even three years ago that I would be an admirer of the boys from Fairy Chasm Road (I'm not making that up), I would have gouged out your eyes with a spoon.
Commish's Predictions: USM 7, Brookfield 2

Tonight's Predictions: Sectional 7

(5) Catholic Memorial @ (1) Stoughton
I know of at least one of you who has picked CM in this match-up, and can't say as I blame you. Have been utterly unimpressed with Stoughton's wins so far, but their uniform design does seems much-improved. And there's some solid Wahlin stock on the roster (see right), so no way will I bet against them.
Commish's Prediction: Stoughton 3, Catholic Memorial 1

(3) Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago @ (2) Janesville
Yep, this has to be the least formidable sectional in the tourney. Color me unimpressed with the Lasers, which gives Janesville the victory by default.
Commish's Prediction: Janesville wins on penalty kicks.