Varsity Hockey eviscerates Neuqua at turning point in season

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Varsity Hockey eviscerates Neuqua at turning point in season

Senior Jack Flood off a face-off on Sunday night. He scored to make it 3-1 in the second period.

Senior Jack Flood off a face-off on Sunday night. He scored to make it 3-1 in the second period.

Chris Mickolayck

Senior Jack Flood off a face-off on Sunday night. He scored to make it 3-1 in the second period.

Chris Mickolayck

Chris Mickolayck

Senior Jack Flood off a face-off on Sunday night. He scored to make it 3-1 in the second period.

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“Win or lose, at least we don’t go 2 Neuqua Valley.” That’s what a sign read at All Season’s ice rink Sunday night, as the Waubonsie/Metea Warriors hockey team evaporated Neuqua 5-2. The sign represents the passion of the only event that houses the rivalry of the three district schools. Two schools are greater than one, so in the stands as well as on the ice, the Warriors outmatched Neuqua.

The first period saw a lot of chances for the Warriors, who were without leading point scorer Zach Pearce. Yet none of them found the back of the net until a power-play goal from Nate Kozari with 1:31 left to tie it at one apiece. Quickly in the second period, Ethan Wipff scored to put the team up 2-1. From that point on, the team did not look back. “I just think we couldn’t bury one. Then in the second a couple things clicked, a couple extra power plays [came in], and the power play looked really good tonight,” coach Jeremy Dombro said.

Right after the goal to make it 2-1, senior Jack Flood scored another one to extend the lead. “I just remember being on the side of the net and the puck just landed on my stick and I hesitated a little bit because I didn’t know if I could slide it backdoor,” he said. The game got a little chippier at that point, with penalties on both sides. But then senior Will Naffziger scored to make it 4-1 at the end of the second period.

The offense clicked in the second period, and with the game in control, the defense shut the door. “We knew all night they would try to spring guys up the ice, so we kept our defense back and made sure we didn’t make any bad steps,” said Naffziger.

Penalties were as expected in a rivalry game like this. It is a unique rivalry in the sense that all three district schools can share the contest. Although, recently it is as much of a rivalry as Patriots-Jets or Alabama-Tennessee. “As long as we continue playing 5 on 5 hockey, we’ll go through any team we play,” Naffziger said. The team is now looking to improve off their success, with another match against Neuqua next Sunday.

This weekend saw the Warriors playing Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Saturday was a win against Maine and Monday saw the team fall to Hinsdale Central. Having three games in three days is never the ideal situation, but the team believes they can handle it. “We are at the point in the season where their bodies should be able to handle it, but three games in a row are tough,” Dombro said.

The month of January has not been all nice to the Warriors, who have lost too Glenbard and Wheaton West, two of the top three teams in the combined division of Illinois. But Sunday night reminded the team of what they can do when at their best. “I think we’ve been able to flip the switch well in these past couple of games. I think just now we’ve figured things out and we will be able to go on a nice run to state,” senior Jack Flood said.