New Richmond sectional champs

The New Richmond boys hockey team celebrates with the sectional championship plaque after defeating Amery 3-2 in the Division 2, Section 1 final Friday night, Feb. 24, in Amery. Bob Burrows / Star-Observer photo

The New Richmond boys hockey team is heading to the WIAA State Tournament for the first time since 2011, while two-time defending Division 1 champion Hudson is returning for the fifth time in six years after both won their respective sectional championship games Friday night.

New Richmond is headed to the WIAA Division 2 state championship after defeating Amery, 3-2, in the Section 1 title game Friday night in Amery, while Hudson posted a 3-1 victory over Superior to win the Division 1 Section 1 title in Chippewa Falls.

Senior Easton Schmit scored the deciding goal for New Richmond, with 9:18 left in the game to break a 2-2 tie. His shot from the right wall squirted through the block attempt by Amery goalie Avery Starzecki. Starzecki and New Richmond goaltender Blake Milton both played well, as both are finalists for the Kirk Daubenspeck Award, given to the top prep goalie in the state each year.

New Richmond and Amery both scored twice in the opening period. New Richmond’s Bjorn Bahneman scored first, poking home a rebound after an initial shot from linemate Steven “Boom Boom” Chapman.

Amery came back to score the next two goals. The Tigers got the tying goal with 40 seconds left in the first period. As a Tiger power play was winding down, Catcher Langeness made a pass from the right boards to the front of the net. Bahneman was cutting to the slot and he took Langeness’ pass and put a shot past Starzecki.

This game lived up to its billing. New Richmond and Amery are the top two ranked teams in Division 2 in the state this week. The win raises the Tigers’ record to 21-4. The Tigers outshot the Warriors 36-15.

In the Division 1, Section 1 championship game in Chippewa Falls, Brecken Meyer staked Hudson to a 1-0 first period lead, and Carson Strapon scored in the second to give the Raiders a 2-1 lead, before Truman Zerse netted the only goal of the third period to make the final 3-1.

Hudson outshot Superior 38-16.

This year’s WIAA State Hockey Tournament has been relocated from Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison to to Bob Suter’s Capitol Ice Arena and will take place Thursday, March 2, through Saturday, March 4.

The tournament has been held at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center since the inception of the event in 1971. The only exceptions during that span was in 1974 and 1975 when it was held in Green Bay, and in 2021 when it was held in Wisconsin Rapids during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Division 2 semifinals will be played Thursday, March 2, at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. with the state title game scheduled for Saturday, March 4, 9:30 a.m. The Division 1 semifinals will be Friday, March 3, at 10 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. with the championship game Saturday, March 5, at 2:30 p.m.

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