The boys of region 5 made the long trek up to Superior this past weekend to participate in the 2016 Kohlman Cup. The team had a strong WCYHA composition, consisting of JohnPaul Beine, Mason Bublitz, Odin Klebba, Sawyer Lichtensteiger and Kenny McAughey. With only a week to practice together and learn each other play started on Saturday against the team from region 4 (Madison, Sun Prairie, Verona and surrounding areas). WCYHA players represented well with Odin scoring and adding a assist with Sawyer getting on the sheet with an assist. Kenny started in goal and with a solid team effort started the tournament with a strong 4-1 victory, receiving 4 of the possible 5 points available in the game.
The second game was against the home team region 1 (Superior, Rice Lake, Chippewa Falls and surrounding areas). While WCYHA was kept off the score sheet, the toughness of our boys shone brightly as JohnPaul stood in front of a shot heading towards the goal. Even though hobbled by the shot, JohnPaul made sure the play was heading out of the zone before going to the bench to let the stinger wear off. While not starting the game Kenny was asked to jump into the crease for the third as region 5’s other goalie felt a little under the weather and stood tall keeping region 1 off the board in the third the secure region 5’s second 4-1 victory and with earning all 5 possible points in the game, ensured a first place finish in the round robin portion of the tournament.
WCYHA was also represented in the skills portion of the festivities, with Mason participating in the speed skating relay race and Kenny in net for the goalie skills. While neither won their events, both showed that WCYHA should be proud of both players.
An early game on Sunday morning in the cross over playoff saw region 5 go up against the team from region 6 (Eau Claire, Hudson, Menomonie and surrounding areas). The game was tight from the beginning with region 5 falling behind 2-0 after a couple of quick goals by region 6. This team was not to be denied and fought back to tie the game up. In the third period Mason was able to pick up the puck in the slot, make a couple of moves and put the winner in the back of the net to send the boys to the final against the first place team from the other pool, region 2 (Steven’s Point, Eagle River, Marathon and surrounding areas).
The game began with region 2 taking the play to us but strong goaltending by Kenny allowed region 5 to go up 2-0. Unable to put the dagger in region 2, who like us in the previous game were not about to lie down, came back and with minutes to go in the second were up 3-2. With time winding down in the second region 5 came down the wing and T.Y. Dale (Waukesha) put one top shelf to send this game to a one period winner take all game. The boys headed to the locker room for the intermission tied 3-3.
Play went back and forth, solid goaltending and defensive play from both sides made for an exciting finish to the 2016 Kohlman Cup. With about 7 minutes to go region 5 scored and for the next 8 minutes, AED’s were ready for parents in need. Down a man with 2:40 to go and an empty net at the other end the finish was anything but written. All the boys stood tall together to weather the storm and with a flurry of play in our zone with less than a minute a final chance for region 2 came with 9.6 seconds and a face-off in our zone. On to take the face-off was Odin and as he had throughout the tournament bent over and won the draw back to our corner where the winger ate the puck and killed the final few seconds.
Congratulations to all the WCYHA boys on helping bring home Region 5’s first ever Kohlman Cup championship. The trophy the boys are pictured with, will have their names engraved and is permanently housed and on display in the Wisconsin Hockey Hall of Fame in Eagle River.