Boys hockey skates to victory in first game of Wickenheiser Cup semifinals

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Avery Neal

Oliver Right (12) skates in to hug Jack Anderson (11) as he celebrates his first goal in the game. Anderson's unassisted goal gave OHS a lead of 2-1. The Tiger went on to beat Westminster 6-4.

The OHS boys hockey team continued its undefeated playoff run, and are now just one step away from playing at Enterprise Center.

OHS conquered Westminster 6-4 on Friday, Feb. 21, in the first game of the Wickenheiser Cup semifinals. The boys will need to beat them one more time, on Feb. 28 at Centene Community Ice Center, starting at 7 p.m. With a win, they will advance to the Wickenheiser Cup final on March 11 at Enterprise Center.

In the semifinal opener Justin Skaggs (12) and defenseman Jack Anderson (11) had two goals each and played a giant role in the Tigers’ huge postseason win.  

“It was great knowing that I was helping the team get the win,” Anderson said.  “It was awesome going through the line and seeing the crowd pumped up.”

The boys went into the third period leading 5-2. Westminster rallied with two goals making it a tight 5-4 game, but the Tigers held on to their sixth straight playoff win to improve their record to 10-15-2.

Winger Zach Daniels (12) started the scoring early, just five minutes into the opening  frame giving OHS a 1-0 lead. Westminster would knot things up later in the first, making the score 1-1. However, the tie did not last for long, when Anderson gave the Tigers a 2-1 lead by ripping a slap shot past Westminster goalie Emily Griege, sending OHS into the second period with a one-goal lead. 

The Tigers did let a goal slip in at 14:40 of the second period making it 2-2, but Skaggs responded three minutes later to make the score 3-2. Three minutes after that, Anderson recorded his second of the night, by finding the back of the net, giving OHS a comfortable 4-2 lead.

But the fun did not stop there. Oliver Right (12) added on to the lead by scoring with only  5:41 left in the second, sending the Tigers to the third with a lofty three goal lead. However, Westminster threw everything they had at the boys, scoring back to back in the third, making it a nail biting 5-4 hockey game. Fortunately for the Tigers, Skaggs scored an insurance goal on an empty net with 33 seconds left in the third, putting the 6-4 nailbiter to rest.

“After I scored we knew we won the game,” said Skaggs. “We were all happy. I was happy. There’s not a better feeling.”

Head Coach Phil Jacquot says it’s all about sticking to the process and working hard.

“We got to play our game,” said Jacquot. “If everybody on the bench does their job, then we’ll be just fine.”

The players and coaches know how important the next game will be and are working towards their goal.

“We know it’s going to be a tough game next Friday,” said Jacquot. “We know it’s going to be rough and chippy, so we’ve got to stay out of some of their antics and stick to our game. If we can go out and stick to our game, we’ll be just fine.”