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Wildcat skaters top Simley

Wildcat senior Casey Jerry slips the puck through Superior goaltender Zach Reiswig's legs to tie the score, 1-1, last Tuesday at Wildcat Centre. The Spartans went on to a 5-2 victory. <i>Bob Burrows photo</i>

The Wildcat hockey team dropped a pair of games to two of the top teams in the state last week before going across the border to St. Paul and coming home with a 5-3 victory over Simley.

The Cats, now 3-4 overall, 0-2 in the Big Rivers Conference, hosted Chippewa Falls this past Tuesday and will visit Onalaska Saturday, Dec. 15 before traveling to Eau Claire North Tuesday, Dec. 18.

Head coach Mike Kealy said the Cats needed a win after two straight losses and played well in their 5-3 victory over Simley Saturday, Dec. 8.

"This was a good win and we needed that," he said. "Our power play is getting better and it showed tonight."

The Cats were 3-of-6 on the power play with goals coming from Mason Woiwode, Connor Maxwell and Casey Jerry.

"Connor, Casey and Billy (Jerry) move the puck well on top and Mason and Brady (Stocker) are understanding how to screen the goalie," Kealy said.

Maxwell finished with two goals and an assist in the win and Casey Jerry had a goal and four assists while Billy Jerry contributed a goal and three assists.

"Billy Jerry continues to play composed hockey," Kealy said. "He is in the right place at the right time."

Stocker also notched an assist while Corbin Renslow finished with 24 saves in net as the Cats outshot Simley 31-27.

"We played with more consistency throughout the game," the coach noted. "Michael Conde adds to that on defense."

Kealy said last week's first two games gave the young Wildcats a chance to see how they compare with two of the state's top-ranked teams -- Superior and Eau Claire Memorial. The Wildcats dropped a 5-2 decision Tuesday at home to the Spartans and lost 4-1 Thursday in Eau Claire.

"We played well at times and then we would chase and break down," Kealy said. "Superior is too good of a team to have that many breakdowns. I feel we can compete against the state's top programs, we were down 2-3 heading into the third and just didn't have the fire to win."

Casey Jerry and Billy Jerry accounted for the Wildcat goals against Superior while Casey Jerry scored the lone goal, unassisted, after Memorial had taken a 4-0 lead Thursday in Eau Claire.

The Old Abes led 1-0 after one before scoring three second period goals.

"We battled the entire first period and had a breakdown inside of a minute left and got scored on," Kealy said. "The second period we made a lot of mistakes, we had some players trying to do it all -- that doesn't work against great teams."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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