The Viroqua area cooperative boys hockey team continues to show strides of improvement as the young Blackhawks, with 13 freshman and sophomores on the roster, picked up their second win of the season Saturday, Dec. 16, with a 5-3 victory on the road at Monroe Area Co-op. Monroe is a seven-team co-op comprised of players from Argyle, New Glarus, Darlington, Dakota, Orangeville, Warren and Monroe high schools.
Sophomore forward Jake Krause scored two goals and delivered an assist and senior forward Sam Berg chipped in with a trio of assists to lead the Blackhawks offense. Six other Blackhawks chipped in to the well-balanced scoring attack.
After the Cheesemakers took a 1-0 lead 8:16 into the first period, the Blackhawks exploded to score four un-answered goals to grab a commanding 4-1 lead by the end of the first 17 minutes of play. Krause (Westby High School) got the Hawks on the board with a goal 9:46 into the game, assisted by senior defenseman Harry Hughes (Youth Initiative High School), to tie the score at 1-1.
Less than a minute later sophomore defenseman Jacob Ellefson gave the Blackhawks the lead for good, with 6:32 remaining in the period off an assist from junior forward Nathan Turnipseed. Turnipseed gave Viroqua a 3-1 lead, off an assist by Berg with 3:50 left in the opening frame and senior defenseman Brendan Hoffland closed out the high scoring period with a power-play goal assisted by Berg at the 14:56 mark.
Senior goaltender Carter Bergdahl (WHS) recorded 13 saves against 14 Monroe shots in the first 17 minutes of the game. The Cheesemakers pelted Bergdahl with 20 shots in the second period, finding the back of the net twice and sliced the Blackhawk lead to 4-3.
“We were on our heels most of the second period letting them climb back into the game,” said coach Kyle Hall.
The Blackhawks also lost first line forward senior Jason Mishler to an injury in the period.
Both teams battled through the final period without a score until freshman forward Garrison Korn (WHS), notched his first varsity goal, an empty-netter, with just 10 seconds remaining on the game clock. Korn’s goal was a double assist model, off passes from Berg and Krause.
Bergdahl kept the Blackhawks net clean, stopping all nine Stoughton shots in the final period, finishing with 40 saves in the winning effort.
“We were getting tired in the third, but were able to hang in there to get the win,” Hall said. “We have two weeks off before our next game…it will be a good rest after a busy start to the season.”
The Blackhawks have played over half of their season schedule, 11 games in the first 25 days.
The win improved the Blackhawks’ season mark to 2-7-1 entering the Christmas break. Viroqua will host Chequamegan High School in a 7:30 face-off Dec 29 at the Viroqua Community Arena.