Hockey club battles for the Wickenheiser Cup

Through teamwork and sweat, the Spartans defeat the Duchesne Pioneers in their first series playoff game.

Nerves were running high in the South Rec-Plex locker room last Friday, February 6th. With only 15 minutes away from facing the Duchesne Pioneers, senior Brock Shearon revealed his pre-game anxieties.

“I think everybody is nervous. It’s a really big game. We’re in the playoffs. Half of our players are young, underclassmen and this is their first time in the playoffs, so yes, everyone is nervous,” Shearon said.

The team is playing for the Wickenheiser Cup, and are only three games away from Final Four.
According to assistant coach Chris Wirtel, the team is more concerned with its own performance, than they are with Duchesne’s.

“They’ve got several really good players that we always have to keep an eye on out for, but it’s more about our team and how we’re playing. If we play our game, we feel pretty confident, so yes, we do have to keep an eye out for several players, but again if we do what we’re capable of doing, we should be okay,” Wirtel said.

Throughout the season, the team has struggled with playing beneath their abilities when faced with lower-tiered teams. The players have also struggled with collaborating as a team. Coach Wirtel believes the team has improved greatly on working together, and not as individuals.

“We’ve had our moments when we played good, and we’ve had our moments when we’ve played bad. I think they are starting to come together at the right time, and the playoffs at the end of the year is a good time to come together,” Coach Wirtel said.

As president of Mid States Hockey Association and father to senior player Brock Shearon, Tony Shearon believes the support from fellow classmates, empowers the teams to play better.

“The student body when they show up at these games that’s a tremendous asset for the team. And it’s exciting for the student body to come out and see the guys they walk the hallways with play,” Shearon said.

For the majority of the first period against Duchesne, both teams managed to keep the score tied at zero. With less than three minutes left in the period, the Spartans were the first to score. However, the Pioneers tied the game by scoring only a minute later. With only 48 seconds left on the clock, senior Jacob Guilstorf scored, signifying the end of the first period.

Within two minutes after the start of the second period, Corey Robinson scored on the Pioneers. However, the Pioneers narrowed the Spartans lead by scoring, ending the second period with a score of 3-2.

After four minutes into the final period, the Pioneers tied up the score. According to sophomore goalie Mikey Gregg, the determination of the offensive line is what kept the game in the Spartan’s favor.

“After the game was tied, the rest of the team was down. They kept the team in momentum,” Gregg said.
The Spartans were playing aggressive. At one point, the puck flew out of the rink and landed in the bleachers, injuring a student.

Robinson admitted he was responsible for the student’s nose bleed.

“I actually shot that, and I felt pretty bad. I went over there, and tried to give her the puck. I felt pretty bad,” Robinson said.

After the Pioneers tied the game, the Spartans scored an additional three goals. The Spartans ended the night as victors.

According to Jacob Guilstorf, Robinson played a huge impact in driving the team to their victory.

“Corey Robinson played a hell of a game. He is always our leader out there on the ice. Always putting his full effort it. He’s who we all look up to,” Guilstorf said.

Despite the Spartan’s victory, this isn’t the last they’ll see of the Pioneers this season.

“We play Duchesne again next Friday. It’s a two game series, so if we win, or tie the game we win, and then we go on to the semis,” Robinson said.

Despite the Spartan’s victory Saturday night, the team is not undermining Duchesne’s abilities.

According to junior Danny Geringer, the team is still working to achieve another victory against the Pioneers.

““We’re always hoping that we’ll come out on top. I know the next game is going to be a little tougher. They were missing a couple of guys tonight, so we’re going to have to play a little harder,” Geringer said.

The Spartans will face Duchesne again Friday at 7:45 pm at Rec-Plex South Rink.