Wild Ice Hockey Teams Finish Strong
The High Sierra Wild Bantam and Pee Wee ice hockey teams both finished the regular season with strong performances on the road over the weekend.
The Wild Bantam Team tied the first place and undefeated California Cougars, 1-1, at the Cougars’ Bridgepointe rink in San Mateo. The Wild jumped out to an early lead when Gardnerville’s Angela Nelson took a pass from Andrew Lane of Reno and fired a shot from the point.
Reno’s Darren Partyka deflected the puck past the Cougars goalie and into the net. The Wild held the lead until early in the third period when the Cougars screened Wild Goalie Matt Scherer of Carson City, for their only goal of the game.
The game was a defensive struggle, with the Cougars’ top-ranked defense holding the Wild scorers in check. The Wild defense of Gardnerville’s Austin Hoyt, Nelson, Brandon Rader of Sparks, Brian Grove, Collin Brown and Zack Ward of Reno constantly harassed the Cougars’ shooters.
South Tahoe’s Paul Amundson and Gardnerville’s Chris Rogusky slowed down the Cougars’ skaters with their fore-checking. Scherer made several excellent saves, including a spectacular, left-legged kick save of a rebound shot while he was down on the ice. Scherer finished with 32 saves.
At the same time, over at the Cougars’ Vallco rink in Cupertino, the Wild Pee Wee team defeated the Cougars’ Pee Wee team, 3-1. Entering the game, the Cougars’ Pee Wee team had a record of 12-2 and was tied for second place.
The Wild scored in the first period on a goal from South Tahoe’s Scott Vogelgesang, assisted by South Tahoe’s Evan Brown. The Cougars evened the score with 3:48 left in the second period, but the Wild took back the lead, less than two minutes later, when Minden’s Devyn Hotho scored on an assist from Reno’s Devin Cole.
Vogelgesang scored an insurance goal on an assist from Hotho with 1:43 remaining in the game.
The Wild defense, led by South Tahoe’s Elliot Amsden, played a strong game, holding the Cougars’ six-foot tall, twelve year-old star player scoreless. Pee Wee Head Coach Bob Pelkola commented that “The team played well together and worked the puck to their advantage.”
The next day, the Wild Bantam and Pee Wee teams went their separate ways, with the Bantams traveling to Stockton, and the Pee Wees playing the Junior Sharks in San Jose.
The Pee Wees defeated the Sharks, 5-0, behind a hat-trick from Hotho and combined shutout for goalies Gabe Mier y Teran of Reno and Christi-Ann Yarbough of Sparks. Amsden added a goal and an assist, Vogelgesang had two assists, and Daniel Biocchi of Sparks added a goal for the Wild.
Assistant Coach Gary Gramprie was pleased with the hustle the team showed, saying “Our kids could have quit after they were eliminated from the playoffs, but they played with heart and showed that they should not be taken lightly.”
Later in the day, the Bantams defeated the Stockton Colts, 4-1. The Colts struck first, taking the lead in the first period on a shot from the left wing, just inside the opposite post. Early in the second period, the Wild tied the game on a goal by South Tahoe’s Cooper Stanley on assists by Grove and Reno’s Jimmy Thorngren.
Later in the second, Cameron Fields of Zephyr Cove scored on a beautiful one-timer, off passes from Stanley and Rader, to give the Wild the lead. Rader scored the Wild’s third goal, with assists from Stanley and Fields, and Stanley finished the scoring on assists from Thorngren and Brown. Goalie Nando Ramos of Sparks was solid the rest of the way, making 17 saves.
Despite having a young roster this year, the Wild Pee Wee Team finished the season tied for fifth in the Northern California Youth Hockey League (www.norcalyouthhockey.com) and just out of the playoffs. The Wild Bantam Team finished 11-5-2, in third place in its division. It will compete in the league playoffs this coming weekend at Logitech Ice in San Jose.
The High Sierra Wild (www.highsierrahockey.com) is a competitive, youth ice hockey program with players from Carson City, Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, Reno and Sparks.