OT win gives Lasers title share
KM hockey team stuns Waukesha in overtime, 2-1
There was no doubt that the Kettle Moraine/Mukwonago/Oconomowoc boys hockey team had to be a little frustrated at the end of regulation play Tuesday night at the Naga-Waukee Ice Arena. Despite a 1-1 score, the Lasers dominated the action, outshooting the explosive Waukesha Wings by a convincing 44-17 margin.
However, all of that frustration quickly turned into exaltation for the Lasers just 38 seconds into overtime when senior forward Austin Freeman fired a shot into the back of the Waukesha net, giving KM/MHS/OHS not only the victory, put a piece of the Classic 8 Conference championship as well.
Arrowhead and the Lasers completed league play with identical 4-1 records. Waukesha, with one game remaining, is tied with Brookfield/Catholic Memorial for third place with a 2-2 mark.
The Wings are a co-op program that includes Pewaukee and St. John's Northwestern Military Academy.
The championship marks the second straight year that KM/MHS/OHS has won or shared the league title. The Lasers won last year's outright crown with a 6-0 record. It was the third conference title in school history.
"Our boys have been battled tested this year and we've gone through our ups and downs," said KM coach John Brymer. "This was a big win for us. We beat a very talented team tonight. Hopefully we're peaking at the right time. Our practices have been good, and the guys are having a lot of fun."
After playing to a tie in the 51 minutes of regulation, it only took the Lasers a few seconds to win the game in overtime.
After winning the faceoff, Kettle Moraine worked the puck around the zone looking for an open man, with 58 seconds still remaining on a power play leftover from the third. That opportunity came after just four passes as sophomore defender Connor Freeman and senior Matt Sherry found Austin Freeman open on the right side of the goal, and Austin then launched the puck past Waukesha's talented goalie Jake Kupsky, creating a wild KM celebration on the ice.
"I got a back-door pass from Matt and just fired the shot and got it into the back of the net," said Austin Freeman. "Jake is a very good goalie, and it's hard to get anything past him, but this time I beat him. It was frustrating to get so many shots in regulation and not score more than once. But finally, winning in overtime made it all worth while."
Kupsky was brilliant for the Wings. KM outshot the Wings by a lopsided 17-4 margin in the first period and couldn't score and then dominated the second period, outshooting the Wings by a 15-6 margin and still couldn't score.
Kupsky and KM's Quinn Disrud, the leading goalie in the conference, both made outstanding saves all night long.
"I was a little extra fired up tonight because of the in-town rivalry," Disrud said. "I got a little lucky on some of their shots but our defense really helped me out. Our defense was amazing. Guys like Matt Sherry, Connor Freeman, Brock Ellena and Alex Manske all had good nights."
Both of the goals in regulation came within 45 seconds in the third period. Freeman scored an unassisted goal to put KM on top with 8:18 left to play and Dominik Florian (Pewaukee) hit a rocket past Disrud with 7:43 left to play.
After the goal by the Wings, KM had to fight off a huge penalty when it was forced to play two men down for 92 seconds. Amazingly, the Wings managed just one good shot with the two-man advantage, and Disrud calmly turned that shot back.
Brymer said the key for his team after missing so many scoring chances was being patient.
"We just kept plugging away, and eventually, something has to go in," the KM coach said. "Jake Kupsky is a phenomenal goalie and that's the best game I've seen him play in a long time.
"We know that we're going to have to outshoot them and get on some rebounds. We did that. I thought our kids did a great job of playing positional hockey tonight."
And a great job of grabbing a piece of the conference championship.
Offense explodes Saturday
Last Saturday, the Lasers hosted Sauk Prairie at Naga-Waukee and came away with a 9-4 victory over the Eagles.
KM/MHS/OHS exploded for four goals in the first period en route to its highest total of the season, closing with three goals in the final period.
The Lasers previous best output was five goals, accomplished twice.
Senior forward Austin Freeman had the best game of his career with the Lasers. Freeman finished with a career-best five goals. He also added one assist.
Greg Simandl, Jonathan Carfagna, Robbie Dombrowski and Allan Moutvic all scored single goals for the winners.
Matt Sherry and Carfagna had two assists each and Simandl, Connor Freeman, Andy Behling, Justin Persch, Alex Manske, Jim Rice and Jeff Johnson all had one assist each in the win.
Kettle Moraine will finish the regular season Friday and Saturday by competing in the Sun Prairie tournament.
WIAA regional competition in boys hockey begins Feb. 12.
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