Raiders rebound from upset by shutting out the Blizzard
A month’s worth of momentum got sidetracked Thursday, but the Medford Raiders got some of it back Saturday afternoon when they coasted to a 7-0 win over the winless Grantsburg-based Blizzard co-op at the Simek Recreation Center.
Six different players scored goals, while Blaine Seidl led the way with two goals and senior AJ Adleman only had to make 13 saves to collect his sixth career shutout and the team’s fourth of the season in the lopsided win.
Medford put 44 shots on Blizzard goal tender Cashton Kapp, including 38 in the first two periods when the Raiders built an insurmountable 6-0 lead.
“The passing today out there was good,” Medford head coach Galen Searles said. “When you’re going against a team that doesn’t block the passing lanes as well, it’s easier. But it’s teams like this you have to practice that to be able to do it against the higher level teams. It’s nice to see the unselfish play.”
Carter Pernsteiner ended Medford’s two-game scoring drought quickly, using a Connor Gowey assist to put the Raiders on the board just 3:12 in. It was the junior’s 17th goal of the season.
Colton Gowey put in his 18th goal of the year at 7:09 while Medford was on its first of two power plays in the game. Brayden Machon assisted Seidl on his first goal of the game at the 12:49 mark of the opening period. Medford outshot the Blizzard 20-2 in the period.
During a five-minute power play, Seidl scored again, firing a shot from Kapp’s right side that got through him for a 4-0 lead 2:08 into the second period. Logan Searles had the assist. Searles got Medford’s next goal at 8:09, firing a straight-on shot from just inside the blue line that got past the screened Kapp.
Just 26 seconds later, the puck beautifully went from stick to stick as Miles Searles set up Machon at the door step for an easy tap in.
The big lead allowed the Raiders to get all available players on the ice and they all did their part to keep that lead and keep the running clock going in the third period. Connor Gowey did get one last goal with 22 seconds left, which was set up by a centering pass from Logan Searles and a second assist from Pernsteiner.
The loss dropped the Blizzard, who is one of the teams in Medford’s WIAA Division 2 sectional bracket, to 0-14.
With the win, Medford improved to 107-1 overall and put this year’s team among the more successful squads in program history. This is the first 10-win team in Medford since the 2005-06 Raiders went 11-9-2. The 2003-04 team was 13-8 and the 2004-05 team went 13-9 and won a regional title.
Medford hosts the Chequamegon Coop Friday at 7 p.m. before moving on to the first round of the Great Northern Conference’s second annual tournament on Tuesday. The Raiders will most likely be the seventh seed and will travel to second- seeded Lakeland for a 7 p.m. face-off that night. They would drop to the eighth seed only if winless Tomahawk upsets both Antigo Thursday and Waupaca Friday.
Chequamegon 3, Medford 0
Medford was unable to solve Chris Vittone, who stopped all 51 shots he faced to lead the Chequamegon Co-op to a 3-0 upset win over the Raiders Thursday in Park Falls.
Vittone stopped 22 shots in the first period, 13 in the second and 16 more in the third in his shutout effort. Adleman stopped 26 of the 29 shots he faced. It was his first loss in a non-conference game this year after eighth straight wins.
Team SEaL got a first-period goal from Brendan BeBeau at 11:30, assisted by Grant Kief, which turned out to be all the offense it needed.
The home team, however, tacked on two more goals in the second period. Kief scored off a BeBeau assist 6:52 in. At 8:33, at the start of a Chequamegon power play, Marcus Vittone scored an unassisted goal.
“We just couldn’t get a handle on the puck,” coach Searles said. “Their goalie, we peppered him, but he was where he needed to be. It was one of those games where you just shake your head. But it’s nice that we’re going to get a rematch quick (on Friday).”
Medford played without three key defensemen, Austin Waldhart, Logan Searles and Miles Searles.
The Raiders had just one power play opportunity, which came in the first period. Conversely, seven penalties kept Medford short-handed for much of the final two periods. Even with four third-period penalties, Medford outshot Chequamegon 16-5 in the last 17 minutes.
Team SEaL is 4-13.