Saturday, February 28, 2009

BREAKING NEWS: Hudson vs. Superior comes to your PC!

For those of you with nothing better to do on Saturday afternoon (are you listening, Mr. Moe?), I offer this gift:

This reporter will be stationed on the USS Hornet with 60+ Indian Guides, but will bring along his laptop just in case. (Or maybe the cough I just this minute developed will be much worse by tomorrow afternoon. Time to go check my temperature. Rectally.)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Results

Austin Schmid to Cody Strang: "Thank you, sir, may I have another?"
Verona 3, Madison Edgewood 2
Verona kills off 8 out of 9 penalities, including a 5-on-3, to earn some payback against the Cruskaters. UW recruit Cody Strang is harassed all night and held off the scoreboard until late in the game. Austin Schmid has another strong night in the nets.

Fondy 4, Ashwaubenon 2
“There’s 96 teams in the state, and every single one of them wants to get to State,” Fondy junior defenseman Brian Kemp said. “For us to do it this year with this group of guys it’s a really special thing.” Amen, brother. This one wasn't as close as the score would indicate. Fondy withstands an early Ashwaubenon charge, then grinds out a no-nonsense ass whooping. Cards are back on The Big Ice for the 6th time in 10 years.

Stoughton 3, Janesville 0
Is Andrew Martin the best goalie in the state? I can think of 18 Vikings (and quite a few Bluebirds) who think so. Stoughton hands Janesville their only shutout of the year. Mr. Hockey finalist Ross Mauermann's 10-minute misconduct penalty didn't make things any easier for Janesville. The Vikes heading to their first Big Ice appearance ever. Well done, Stoughton! Jeff Caplan and Erik Moe stopped holding hands long enough to clap wildly at the news.

Friday Night Lights Preview: Janesville vs. Stoughton

The most intriguing matchup from a pool perspective, as it pits newcomer Mark Pellegrino (Janesville) against the very, very close partnership of Erik Moe and Jeff Caplan (Stoughton).

I'm going to have to give the edge to Janesville in this one, as they have crushed teams that Stoughton has struggled with during the season (Beloit Memorial and Madison Memorial). That, and I'm scared of Coach Mauermann.

Commissioner's Prediction:
Janesville 12, Stoughton o

Friday Night Lights Preview: Verona vs. Madison Edgewood

Another great matchup. Edgewood won the two teams' only meeting this season, 3-2, but this one can go either way. This office would not be surprised at all to see an extra stanza or two involved before this one is decided. As always in close games, it will most likely come down to (1) a lucky bounce and (2) which goaltender [Verona's Austin Schmid or Edgewood's Brad Jerzewski (above)] brings their A game.

Lots of pool participants in the Edgewood cheering section, including the last Rudy standing (Shauna), Dr. Bill Dittrich, Chip Krauss, Kevin Brown (!), Henry Moe, and Gloves Off Middendorf.

Commissioner's Prediction:
Madison Edgewoood 4, Verona 3 (OT)

Friday Night Lights Preview: Fondy vs. Ashwaubenon

Introducing your 2008-2009 Ashwaubenon Jaguars.
We've entered the meat of the tourney, ladies and gentlemen. 16 great teams left on the board and some compelling matchups that will not only deliver some awesome hockey action, but forever change the leaderboard as we know it now.

Fon du Lac vs. Ashwaubenon
You all know the Ashwaubenon story by now. But do you know the rest of the story? Take a look at this forum posting from Wisconsin Prep Hockey:
The Eland kid [Ashwaubenon's goalie] is a special player and a genuine story. He never made a Bantam "A" team in Green Bay and was known for occasionally taking penalties while on "B" and "C" teams because he went after guys who scored on him in Peewee and Bantam hockey. Ashwaubenon has got more than a few "late bloomers" on its team, which is further proof that a just because one player makes the Squirt, Peewee or Bantam "A" teams doesn't mean he/she is going to be a high-end player for life. The kids who don't make the "A" teams in kid hockey will surpass "A" players in high school if they bring passion at whatever level they happen to be playing. To my knowledge, Eric DeRosier first made an "A" team at the Bantam level. Back then he was small in size but he gave big effort, and he gave that effort all the time. I'm not sure if John Danforth was ever an "A" player while coming through the Green Bay Youth Hockey Association, but he's a hard-working role player on a team that's one game away from going to the state tournament.
Let me get this straight. A scrappy B-level goalie who occasionally assaulted players who had the audacity to score on him? Ivo Knezevic, are you listening? I think we have found your love child! It would be a lie to say this reporter is not rooting for Ashwaubenon to make it all the way to The Big Ice. With the possible exceptions of former champ Tracy DeLuca, Brady Udall, and Andrew Davis, I think the rest of the pool joins me in that sentiment.

It's not a stretch, folks. Ashwaubenon has won 21 games in a row, outscoring their opponents 104-38 in the process. Ashwaubenon and Fondy have virtually identical records against common opponents, with perhaps even a slight edge going to the underdog Jaguars given that they beat Appleton United when the best Fondy could do was a tie.

I'm going to be stationed at a homeless women's shelter tonight (it's part of a community service agreement with the San Rafael Police Department that I don't wish to get into now), but you can bet those poor women, asleep or not, are going to get an earful of hockey news if I can somehow find an Internet connection. Stand by.

Commissioner's Prediction:
Ashwaubenon 2, Fon du Lac 1 (4 OTs)

BREAKING NEWS: Wayne Lee Retires From Advertising to Pursue WHSHP Full-Time, Panicky Mills and Davis Follow Suit

Wayne Lee's bizarre behavior at last night's press conference has many questioning his mental competence.
In a move that shocked the advertising industry, Wayne Lee appeared at an impromptu press conference yesterday to announce that he is leaving McCann-Erickson effective immediately to pursue Wisconsin High School Hockey prognostication full-time.

"I owe to my family," Lee explained in a often rambling speech. "And I owe it to those brave kids giving it their all in barns all over the great state of Wisconsin."

Lee has been under considerable pressure from the Wisconsin High School Hockey community to explain his disastrous performance in this year's pool. Once considered a strong contender to challenge defending champion Aviva Kapust for this year's title, he stumbled out of the gate and never recovered, despite committing considerable time and resources to pre-tourney analysis of the field. While news of Lee's sudden departure provoked reactions ranging from stunned silence to outright weeping and rending of garments, most industry insiders are writing off his hasty move as little more than political grand-standing.

"Certainly, it satisfies the general public's thirst for revenge," stated a somber Commissioner Rudy. "But does anybody truly think that having even more time to ponder his pool selections will help Wayne Lee?"

Two more pool veterans, Greg Buns Mills and Andrew Davis, were quick to follow Lee's lead, leading analysts to wonder just when the remaining six McCann-employed pool participants will claim his idea as their own.

Mr. Mills delivers one of the most succinct exit interviews in modern history.
"Advertising is an industry bereft of original ideas," mused an obviously intoxicated Rudy. "Creatives jump on the carcass of a novel concept and don't stop until they've sucked the marrow from its very bones. I wouldn't be surprised to see a 2010 pool field utterly devoid of McCann representation."

Misters Lee, Mills, and Davis could not be reached for further comment, having retired to their usual table at Centerfolds to discuss their picks for this year's Mister Hockey.

"Mr. Davis, your table is ready."

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sectional 8 Recaps

University School 2, Cedarburg 1
Trasher sends us USM Assistant Coach Tom Geilfuss' write up on last night's match with Cedarburg. Thanks, Trasher! (BTW, add Corey Roadhouse to the list of finalists for this year's Dusty Hackbart Coolest Player Name Award.)

In a clean, hard-fought hockey game, the kind a state tournament playoff game should be, second-seeded University School came from behind to defeat third-seeded Cedarburg 2-1 in a Sectional 8 semi-final at University School Tuesday night. 

The first period was scoreless as Cedarburg and its goalie junior Lee Wickert tenaciously endured a 13-3 shot deficit. The Bulldogs then scored the game’s first goal in the second period. During a scrum in the USM crease, the puck slipped loose to senior Robbie Proehl at the side of the net, and he knocked the puck just inside the post past USM’s sophomore goaltender Alex Langer at 7:07. 

The Cedarburg goal energized the USM players, and the Wildcats tied the score just 15 seconds later. Sophomore Simon Leahy skated the puck across the Cedarburg line and fed it across to senior Dane Maher who was trailing the play. Maher moved in and threaded a diagonal pass to freshman Corey Roadhouse who was racing toward the net. Roadhouse stuck his stick out and tipped the puck high into a goal scorer's heaven. 

USM got the game winner earlier in the third. Leahy intercepted a pass behind the Cedarburg net, stepped out front, and backhanded the puck over Wickert’s shoulder at 3:36. After that Cedarburg kept getting the puck into the USM end using a sound dump and chase style, but style points mean nothing. And Langer and his teammates played a dog-at-your-neck style defense and made sure the Bulldogs got nothing. 

In the game Wickert saved 29 shots while Langer stopped 18. So Cedarburg’s season is done. Now 15-7, USM will once again meet its nemesis Arrowhead in the sectional final at Arrowhead at 7:00 on Saturday.

Arrowhead 7, Brookfield 2
USM nemisis indeed. Arrowhead has broken more USM hearts than a Jonas Brothers love song. They'd gladly play USM tonight if the Wildcats weren't already appearing at a celebrity bocce ball tournament in River Hills.

Sectional 7 Recaps

Janesville 6, Catholic Memorial/Pius XI 2
Another clash of controversial co-ops. You may not include Janesville Coach John Mauermann on your holiday card mailing, but you can't argue with his results. Put another way, it's a lot more fun to eat a quality sausage than watch someone make it. Janesville runs all three lines to wear down the the opposition.

Stoughton 3, KM/Mukwonago 1
The Stoughton News could have covered this game, but had already assigned their reporter to cover the Norski Noodler Trivia Contest at the Conservation Club. I'm happy to report that Stoughtonite Maeghan Nicholson (pictured right) won the $80 grand prize. Sadly, Stoughton's Friday game against Janesville will be held during the Rotary Club's Annual Teat Tugging Jamboree, so we'll have to rely on the Janesville media for a report. 

Sectional 6 Recap

Verona 2, Middleton 1
Hey, Wildcats, a word of advice: If goalie Austin Schmid likes brownies and cookies, I'd make sure you bring a whole platoon of Keebler elves to the next match with Edgewood. Verona rides Schmid's 34-save performance to a 2-1 victory over Middleton. (I told you this would be a close one.)

Madison Edgewood 5, Sun Prairie 3
With three goals and two assists, Cody Strang appears to be an unstoppable force. That's good news for the Cruskaters, who hold off the Cards and set the table for a classic showdown with Verona.  The winner gets a trip to The Big Ice.

Sectional 5 Recaps

Fondy 5, Notre Dame 2
The Cards break open a 2-2 tie with three goals in the final stanza to win a chippy but hard-fought contest with the Tritons of Notre Dame Academy. Max McCormick is already plotting his revenge.

Ashwaubenon 2, Appleton United 1
As much as I love this final score, I won't belabor the point. Details can be found in an earlier post.

Sectional 4 Recaps

Gunnar Smith (r) and Conner Miles (l) fight for the puck and coolest name rights during their Tuesday night tilt at South Wood County Recreation Center.
Wisconsin Rapids 2, Sparta 1
The Raiders reach the sectional final for the ninth time in ten years, but Sparta draws closer every year. (And if you've ever wanted to see a side-by-side example of a too-busy uniform clashing with a too-simple uniform, see above).

Onalaska 5, Black River Falls 3
Beware the all-senior line of Jordan Tredinnick, Jordan Guth, and Brice Wizner. They're hotter than my Camry's engine after that time I forgot to screw on the oil cap properly. Click on the recap link for a post-game video interview with a freshly-showered Tredinnick. (At least I hope he showered; that hockey gear starts to smell like a crab fishing boat come post-season.)

Sectional 3 Recaps

Lakeland 6, Rhinelander 2
First we lose Tanner Milliron, now another awesomely named goaltender, Jacob Jackomino, steps down as the Lakeland power play spells the difference in a match against the scrappy Hodags.

Stevens Point 5, Wausau West 4 (OT)
Jack Lane may only have two goals this year, but he sure makes the second one count. Point ousts Wausau West in another overtime thriller.

Sectional 2 Recap

Eau Claire Memorial 5, Hayward 4 (2 OTs)
Holy Cripes, the real drama is in the details. In the you-just-can't-make-this-up-department, Hayward scores six the final minute of force overtime! But sophomore Hunter Scott saves the Old Abes from one of the biggest chokes since, well, Appleton United lost to Ashwaubenon an hour earlier. 

Rice Lake 2, Park Falls/Phillips 1
It will be a while before we get the details on this one. But I for one can't wait.

Sectional 1 Recaps

Superior 9, Menomonie 2
Watch out, pool, the Spartan line of Mitch Kontny, Pat Dalbec and Taylor Leuthner score seven of the Spartans’ 9 goals. Someone's peaking at just the right time, which spells trouble for the Raiders from Hudson.

Hudson 3, River Falls 2
No coverage from either paper. Booooo! Thank God for Roger Drewiske and Wisconsin Prep Hockey. Sounds like the final 16 seconds were more frantic (and long-lasting) than an Oliver Albrecht lovemaking session.

A Retraction

In an earlier posting, this office made a disparaging comment regarding John Stephens and his spotty donation record. It has come to our attention that Mr. Stephens is indeed a member in good standing in this pool.

(Sadly, many of you still suck eggs when it comes to parting with your hard-earned $5.)

The Big Ice regrets the error.

Details from Last Night's Miracle on Ice

I have a new favorite beat writer, and his name is Brett Christopherson at the Appleton Post-Crescent.
"The season was supposed to end in celebration on a sheet of ice in Madison, not in agony on a February night at a stuffed Appleton Family Ice Center..."
Beware the "surging and physical Jaguars." They've got a hot goalie in the form of David Eland, and this pool may just have a Cinderella story to rival the likes of the Janesville run from a few years back.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Look at the Leaderboard

This reporter is still as breathless as a schoolgirl due to the Appleton upset, but he'll put aside his grief and excitement long enough to do his job.

It looks like another former champion is making his move after round 3. Ivo Knezevic is tied for the lead with celebrity participant Michael "Trasher" Trzinski. But with Appleton out and Superior still very much in, Knezevic takes over the reins for the time being.

Ditto for second place, where Dylan DiBona and Joe McCormack are perfecting their wedding crashers personas, hording shrimp cocktails until they're asked to leave. Could this finally be Erik Moe's year? Time shall tell.

John Stephens is in sole possession of third place but it's only temporary. (Don't worry, John, when it comes to not honoring your financial obligation to your pool colleagues, you're still the undisputed champ.)

Look out for Shauna Rudy. After initially making her picks based solely on the alphabet, a highly questionable approach that had Altoona winning the state title, this tired mother of two sobered up long enough to take another pass. If Edgewood continues to win, look for the Rudy with the second largest breasts to make some noise.

Leslie Ziegler and Brian Kobylinski share the 5th spot but again are doomed by their uninspired Appleton picks.

Now here is where things get interesting. DeLuca, Fung, Jaime Moe, and Eric Mott are packed together tighter than the love handles in Steven Segal's corset, and are all still in the running. Ditto for Mark Pellegrino who could be riding another epic Janesville run to instant glory. If Lakeland makes a move, Tricky Eldredge is in the best position to take advantage, while--gasp--Gigi Orta continues her campaign to totally emasculate her spouse by leading the Onalaska contigent into the next round.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to make some calls to my contacts in Wisco. Like anyone is going to sleep tonight...

Sectional 8 Results: No Bloodshed Here

Arrowhead 7, Brookfield 2
The Commish told you this would be a rout, and Arrowhead delivered, much to the delight of Oliver Albrecht, Mark Krajan and the mysterious Evan O.

University School 2, Cedarburg 1
Koby on hand for a hard fought showdown between brawn and finesse and, if you missed it, here is what he saw:
Shots: USM 30, Cedarburg 18
0-0 after first period. Cedarburg scores first on scramble in front of net. USM comes back in next 30 seconds. Leahy coast to coast to set up beautiful double dump pass goal. Cedarburg turnover in 3rd results in cheap goal. Lots of pressure by the Dawgs, but to no avail. Net, net: USM more skilled, faster. Cedarburg more scrappy, great heart. Awesome contest.

Scenes from the stands:
#1. Cedarburg chant: "Daddy's buyin'."
#2. USM long-haired student running in front of Dawg fans throwing dollar bills (old one, but good one)
#3. Dawg fans to attractive USM girl with 1" of base: "too much make up."

Sectional 7 Results: Veteran Wayne Lee Completes His Collapse

And you thought Jimmy Carter aged during his time in office.
Janesville 6, Waukesha Catholic Memorial/Pius XI 2
When co-ops collide, no one really wins. Unless, of course, you're Mark Pellegrino. The handsome lawyer from Chicago is suddenly a serious contender after backing a Janesville squad that utterly dismantled the All-Catholic All-Stars from Milwaukee. Wayne, Wayne, Wayne. With the possible exception of this reporter, no one in the pool has a worse hours of research:results ratio than Mr. Wayne Lee.

Jeff Caplan (l) and Erik Moe (r) celebrate their Stoughton win. Together. Again.
Stoughton 3, Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago 1
Stoughton quietly advances, much to the delight of good friends Jeff Caplan and Erik Moe.

Sectional 6 Results: No Surprises Here

Verona 2, Middleton 1
The Commissioner said this would be a close one, and the boys of Dane County delivered. Verona racks up a victory as huge as that ghastly logo on their jerseys.

Madison Edgewood 5, Sun Prairie 3
Shauna Rudy, Bill Dittrich, Chip Krauss, Henry Moe and Ed "Gloves Off" Middendorf: Step up and accept your roses.

Sectional 5 Results: McCormack Takes a Gut Shot, 14 Others Take a Kick in the Groin

Fondy 5, Notre Dame Academy 2
Ah, Mr. McCormack, it was a fun ride while it lasted, but fortune is rarely kind to the wild-hearted. We'll leave you with this Buddhist proverb and suggest you repeat it like a mantra until the weeping subsides:
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.
Ashwaubenon 2, Appleton United 1
Is this the biggest upset in the history of the WSHSHP? I can't think of a bigger one. (That's what she said.) The ramifications of this upset cannot be underscored, as maybe people will think twice before going with the "easy" pick in the future. Am I right or am I right, Misters Trzinski, DiBona, Stephens, Kobylinski, Hall, Rudy, Neal, Jobson, Orta, Landgraf, Lenz and Misses Ziegler and Lee?

Sectional 4 Results: Lachter Learns a Lesson the Hard Way

Wisconsin Rapids 2, Sparta 1
Another awesome game on a night of many great games. The Vipers captured our hearts last season and they won some more admirers this year. But that doesn't change the fact that Iron Man Eric Lachter is now out of contention.

Lachter wearing his patented I'm-pretending-it-doesn't-hurt-but-I'm-really-crushed-by-the-news expression.
Onalaska 5, Black River Falls 3
Greg Buns Mills and rookie Gigi Orta keep on rollin'.

Sectional 3 Results: Tim Shore Goes the Way of the Hodag

Lakeland 6, Rhinelander 2
Tim Shore, we hardly knew ye. But thanks so much for playing.

Stevens Point 5, Wausau West 4 (OT)

Sectional 2 Results: Alaska Jim Keeps It Real

Eau Claire Memorial 5, Hayward 4 (OT)
Another great game! Jamie Dittrich and the Old Abes still kicking, despite his current 18th place standing.

Rice Lake 2, Park Falls/Phillips 1
It's a shame that this close call by the undermanned Park Falls squad gets lost in the chaos surrounding Appleton United's colossal choke job. Well, brave Cardinals, this reporter took note and, put simply, he's a better man for having learned of your epic battle deep in the Wisconsin hinterlands. May that knowledge warm the cockles of your hearts during your long cold bus trip back to Price County.

Sectional 1 Results: Grantham Gone, Peter Rudy Second Member of Proud Hockey Family to Bow Out With Grace and Humility

Superior 9, Menomonie 2
Look out, friends. Superior appears to be pulling another fast one of the hockey world. They crush Menomonie without breaking a sweat. Knezevic suddenly looks like a genius...again. A despondent Grantham was last seen on Bourbon Street flashing his hairy nipples for beads and porn booth tokens.

Hudson 3, River Falls 2
I'm not going to lie. This one hurts. A lot. The Wildcats left it all on the ice tonight, much like this humble reporter leaves it all in this blog. But he takes comfort in the knowledge that Sweet Father Time will heal this wound, just as He has has healed all those other wounds, most of them caused by the fairer sex and/or Minnesota Vikings.

I Think I Know Where Koby's Daughters Are Going to College

St. Norbert adds women's hockey.

BREAKING NEWS: Do You Believe in Miracles? Ashwaubenon Knocks Off Appleton United

Can anyone confirm this? Stand by for details!

Sectional 8: Albrecht, Krajan, and Stranger Go With Arrowhead

(1) Arrowhead vs. (5) Brookfield
Oliver Albrecht, Mark Krajan (right), and some stranger named Evan O. are in the Arrowhead camp. All are sure bets to move onto the next round as this is looks to be one the biggest mismatches on tonight's card.

(3) Cedarburg vs. (2) University School
Hey, if these two teams can't even get the Milwaukee paper to cover them, can they really expect a bunch of yahoos from California to give a hoot?

Sectional 7: Erik Moe, Jeff Caplan, Pellegrino and Wayne Lee Holding Their Collective Breath

Jeff Caplan and Erik Moe have a long history of hanging out in pools together.
(1) Stoughton vs. (4) Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago
No surprise that childhood chums Erik Moe and Jeff Caplan (think Brokeback Mountain but with bell bottoms) find themselves rooting for the same Vikings. This will be a closer game than the seeding suggests.

(3) Janesville vs. (2) Waukesha Catholic Memorial/Pius XI

Talk about your one-on-one matchups. Mark Pellegrino is the only WSHSHP participant backing Janesville, while Wayne Lee, a victim of over-thinking and too much research, is going with the all-stars from CM. Only one of these mighty warriors will walk away from this showdown.

Sectional 6: Gang of 5 Go with the Maroon & Gold

Shauna Rudy leads a pack of five (and apparently one very angry horse) in cheering for Edgewood in tonight's tilt against the Cards.
(1) Madison Edgewood vs. (4) Sun Prairie
Shauna Rudy, Bill Dittrich, Chip Krauss, Henry Moe and Ed "Gloves Off" Middendorf know a solid contender when they see one. Look for Edgewood to dispatch Sun Prairie with the same ease that Dylan DiBona dispatches a pint of Snowshoe Grog.

(3) Middleton vs. (2) Verona
This could very well be the closest matchup in this round. Two familiar foes, two forgettable uniforms, one memorable clash of homegrown puckestry.

Sectional 5 Preview: Make or Break Time for Leader McCormack

(3) Notre Dame Academy vs. (2) Fon du Lac
Joe McCormack will surely look back on this night as one of the most significant moments in his life. Notre Dame is the underdog but they did beat Fondy, 4-2, during the year, so there is reason to hope. Former champ Tracy "One Note" DeLuca is sticking by her Fondy guns. Brady Udall and nationally ranked fencer Andrew Davis have pitched their tents in the Fondy camp, too.

(1) Appleton United vs. (4) Ashwaubenon
Fourteen of you have crammed into the Appleton United minivan and are hoping to ride it all the way to the Big Ice. So original. So brave. So uninspired. How do you sheep sleep at night?

Sectional 4 Preview: Mills, Gigi Orta, and Lachter All In

(1) Onalaska vs. (4) Black River Falls
Greg Buns Mills and rookie Gigi Orta are riding the Hilltopper wagon (no, that's not code). With Onalaska having outscored BRF 17-9 this year, look for this darling couple to take at least one more spin around the block.

(3) Sparta vs. (2) Wisconsin Rapids
Eric Lachter has his own personal reasons for choosing Sparta (ask him), but they might just be valid enough to see him through another round. This one is anybody's game.

Sectional 3 Preview: One or Three Don't Get Out Alive

(1) Lakeland vs. (4) Rhinelander
Tim Shore is not the first rookie to fall for the charms of the Rhinelander Hodag, but this year the Hodags have a little gas in their horned humps, knocking off the likes of Wisconsin Rapids during the course of their up and down year. Steve Schernecker, defending champion Aviva Kapust, and Tricky Eldredge are backing the heavily favored T-Birds. My God, the stakes! As brutal as Rollerball, as nail-biting as Project Runway.

(3) Stevens Point vs. (2) Wausau West
If a game goes on without any pool participants, does anybody care?

Sectional 2 Preview: Alaskan J. Dittrich Stays in the [Moose] Hunt?

Jamie Dittrich, right, looks on as Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin endorses his pool selections.
(1) Eau Claire Memorial vs. (4) Hayward
Jamie Dittrich, the pool's lone representative from Alaska, has all his shells in ECM's shotgun, but the Old Abes won handily in their only meeting with the Hurricanes this year, so look for this former frat boy turned turkey processor to fight another day.

(2) Rice Lake vs. (6) Park Falls/Phillips
No one has any skin in this game, but it's still an intriguing David vs. Goliath match-up. Park Falls is coming off their stunning upset of Eau Claire North, but they are even bigger underdogs in this matchup with the clearly superior Warriors. Do you belive in miracles? Preston Stunkel does.

Sectional 1 Preview: Grantham and Rudy All In

Grantham: "Do I look worried?"
(1) Superior vs. (4) Menomonie
Possibly still drunk from Jazz Fest, New Orleans' Tom Grantham laid it all on the line with the Indians. (Grantham is no stranger to controversy, as this recent article in the Times-Picayune can attest.) But considering Superior barely beat Menomonie, 3-2, in their one match this season, perhaps there is some method to this character actor's madness? Knezevic, Fung, Jaime Moe, Karofsky, Mott and Green pray he's wrong.

(3) River Falls vs. (2) Hudson
Peter Rudy was the only member of this year's pool with the testicular fortitude to choose River Falls to take the title. Yet another tragic case of rooting-for-the-underdog-itis? Or is this man days, nay, weeks ahead of his time? The teams tied early in the year, and Hudson won a second meeting, 4-2, so the odds are against Rudy. But when have the odds ever been for this hard luck kid from the rough streets of Applewood? That's right, never. Go Wildcats!

Hockey Starts Back Up Tonight; Huge Ramifications for Pool Leaders

Ladies and gentlemen of the WSHSHP, gather 'round. I have an important announcement.

I want you to take a good hard look at the person to your left. Now take a good hard look at the person to your right. I want you to remember those faces. Why? Because when the sun rises on Wednesday morn, one or both those faces will now longer be in contention for the 2009 Wisconsin State High School Hockey Pool trophy.

Sobering news, yes, but no one said this pool was for the faint-hearted. So buck up, soldiers of the Big Ice, and remember that you're all winners in my book (except for John Stephens).

Let's take a look at tonight's game, and what the results mean to the standings. Stand by.

The Crazy Genius of Wayne Lee

The Commissioner asked if anyone in the pool correctly chose Park Falls over Eau Claire North, and one man answered: the always unpredictable Wayne Lee.

Well done, lad.

Look for great things from this kid in the future.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jamie Dittrich: 42nd place in the standings, but 1st in our hearts.

Jamie Dittrich, busy father of 5 still finds time to gamble on high school hockey.
Today's mail bag received a stirring tale of determination from Jamie Dittrich, who displays the kind of gutsy determination of which WSHSP Champions are made. (Now a cynical person, say Oliver Albrecht, might interpret the following missive as an preemptive excuse, but this reporter shan't number himself among that motley crew).

cousin ...

we were in mexico during the run-up to WSHSHP '09. i'll have you know with the 2/17 EOD deadline looming last week, i packed up the family, hiked a few miles down a dusty mexican back road, and parked the family outside in 90 degree heat while i logged on to the only functioning computer in the village. i was limited on time and made some plucky, albeit hasty picks. despite my current 42nd place standing, my top 2 teams are still very much in the running so i need to get squared up financially with the commish... please tell me where to send my $$. i am standing by awaiting your instructions.

go OLD ABE !!

Let me just say that it's tales like this one that make this tired old soul feel a little less alone come February.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sectional 8 Recaps from Last Week

University School 7, Waupun 1
Apparently the most exciting play in this yawner was when a pre-game shot shattered a section of glass in the corner. Sorry, Mike "The Traitor" Lenz, but don't expect a lot of pity for a Badger turned Gopher fan.

Arrowhead 12, Beaver Dam 0
Think 12-0 sounds bad? How does a 47-6 shot advantage strike your fancy? I haven't seen such a one-sided contest since the time I tried to wrestle Greg Mills for the last bear claw.

Cedarburg 3, Sheboygan 0

Red Raiders miss a breakaway early, never recover against Cedarburg.

Brookfield Central/East 5, Germantown 4
Nada. Zilch. Can't find a thing on this game, which is a shame, since it was apparently the only good one in the bunch. Perhaps Koby heard something?

Sectional 7 Recaps from Last Week

Stoughton 7, Marquette 1
Marquette learns the hard way that Stoughton is still angry about last year's nail-biter tourney loss to Janesville. Perhaps Erik Moe is on to something?

Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago 2, Waukesha 1
The Bergler was on hand at Nagawauukee Ice Center for the Lasers' hard-fought victory over a surprising Waukeska squad.

Janesville 7, Kenosha 0
Words of wisdom from Janesville Gazette stringer Chris Etheridge: "Control the puck in the first and last two minutes of every period. It's an unwritten rule hockey teams live by." Amen to that, brother.

Waukesha Catholic Memorial/Pius XI 7, Beloit Memorial 1
The WIAA's newest entry into the Asia-inspired Super Group sweepstakes is taking some heat of Appleton United by merging two also-ran programs into a sudden contender for the grail (or so says Wayne Lee, the only WSHSHP participant to pick them to go all the way).

Sectional 6 Recaps from Last Week

Sun Prairie 4, Monona Grove 3
My Achilles Heel strikes again. Every year, the stat sheet tells me it's not Monona Grove's year, and every year my heart says the Silver Eagles are ready for a run. Damn.

Madison Edgewood 6, McFarland 0
Someone is peaking at just the right time, and that someone proudly calls himself Cody Strange, Cruskater. The Mulleted One scores a hat trick, and then some.

Middleton 2, Oregon 1
Whoa, Cardinals. Looking ahead much? Count yourself lucky that you slipped by the Panthers. A word of advice: Verona won't be so forgiving.

Verona 4, Madison Memorial 0
So that's what this world has come to? The formerly great Madison Memorial Spartans now so sadly irrelevant that they can't garner even a mention in their hometown paper? I've officially grown too old for this world.

Sectional 5 Recaps from Last Week

Fondy 5, Green Bay United 1
Green Bay's Gunnar Eastman (4) and 2008 Dusty Hackbart Coolest Player Name Award winner Bam Bam Neiheisel learn the hard way that it takes more than a cool name to knock off Fondy. The Cards win, 4-1.

Ashwaubenon 5, West DePere 3
Don't look now, but Ashwaubenon has won twenty games in a row. Their reward for knocking off West DePere? A chance to get their culos handed to them by Appleton United. You're welcome.

Notre Dame 7, Bay Port/Pulaski 1
Max McCormick keep Joe McCormack's dream alive with a rout of Bay Port. The road gets a little bumpier against Fondy.

Appleton 7, Neenah 1
Have no clue why the usually reliable Post-Crescent would ignore this showdown between cross-river rivals. Appleton's is only the undefeated, top-rated team in the state. I can see why the wrestling results from Kaukauna results would take precedence. A travesty.

Sectional 4 Recaps from Last Week

Rapids' Tyler Hanzlik makes Baraboo pay for their god-awful uniform design.
Wisconsin Rapids 5, Baraboo 1
Rapis break out of last season slump and show some life against the Thunderbirds.

Onalaska 7, Sauk Prairie 1
Freshman wunderkind Jesse Tredinnick fnds the net twice as Hilltoppers cruise to win over Sauk Prairie.

Black River Falls 3, Tomah 1
Beware the Black River Falls power play. Mickelson and Shaw make Tomah pay for their trips to the sin bin.

Sparta/West Salem/Bangor 4, Holmen/Aquinas 1
Ethan Anderson stops 23 shots and Sparta spreads the scoring across four players in an easy WIAA regional final win.

Sectional 3 Recaps from Last Week

Stevens Point 3, DC Everest 1
Panthers rally to beat D.C Everest for the third time this season.

Lakeland 4, Tomahawk 2
Travis Litvinoff pulls off the hat trick to help the T-Birds avoid the upset.

Rhinelander 4, Antigo 3 (OT)
Tyler Henkel slips one past Red Robin goaltender Megan Madeson just 19 seconds into overtime. That's right, Megan Madeson, which I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts means the Red Robins have a female starting in goal. Just one more reason why Wisconsin high school hockey is so friggin' awesome.

Wausau West 6, Mosinee 2
The Warriors shell Mosinee goaltender Wade Michalski with 55 shots; six slip past.

Sectional 2 Recaps From Last Week

Eau Claire Memorial 7, Altoona 1
We already covered this earlier, no?

Park Falls 4, Eau Claire North 3

Hayward 4,  Marshfield 1
The only thing longer than Nik VanVonderen's last name is his scoresheet. This scoring machine racks up another three points as the Hurricanes prevail.

Rice Lake 6,  Chippewa Falls 1
What makes special team's special? Coltan Ellis' short hander breaks the back of Falls and the Warriors roll.

Sectional 1 Recaps from Last Week

Superior 7, Webster 2

The Spartans overcome a slow start (blame it on the powder blue jerseys) but grind out a win against the professional soccer wannabe Blizzard.

Menomonie 4, New Richmond 3
You gotta like a school that refuses to bow to the PC police and keeps its Indian name. But that like makes it first bold steps toward love when you learn that they overcame a 3-1 deficit to knock off the Tigers. The only downside to this otherwise feel-good story is having to bid adieu to one of the cooler names in the state, Tiger goaltender Tanner Milliron.

River Falls 10, Amery 4
Again, a yawner, save for the fact that I got my first look at the River Falls uniform.

Sort of Sweden Olympic Team look going there, and I like the retro number on the front of the jersey. (I'm starting to like my pick even better.)

Hudson 9, Somerset 1
So sad that the Hudson Star-Observer has yet to post a story on this game but I guess a 9-1 yawner doesn't amount to news, even in what amounts to a suburb of the hockey mad Twin Cities.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sectional 5 Recap: Wausau West Wins, Delivers Strangest Celebration Dance Ever

Behold a photo of Wausau West celebrating a goal during their 6-2 victory over Mosinee Thursday night. I've been staring at it for quite a while (it's a slow night here in Sacramento) and I still can't figure out what's going on here. Is the goal scorer making his teammates chase him for their richly deserved hugs? Is this some sort of Barry Bondesque mind game he plays? Or has one of these Nashville Predator wannabes challenged his linemates to a race back to the bench? These are the things that keep me up and night, and might explain why I keep catching my wife flirting with ex-boyfriends on Facebook.