Carter Hellenbrand stopped 26 shots as the Stoughton Vikings moved into third place in the Badger South in boys hockey with a 3-0 shutout win over the Monroe Cheesemakers on Thursday night.
After a scoreless first period, Stoughton wasted little time getting on the board in the second frame. The Vikings, who killed off two early penalties, scored on a multiple-rebound effort in front of the net 2:33 into the second period, when Evan Schreier picked up his first goal and point of the season by hammering home a bouncing puck into the back of the net. Only 69 seconds later, Stoughton would add to their lead on a power-play goal by Jack Sanford, his sixth of the season, on an assist from Brody Hlavacek to push their lead to 2-0 only 3:12 into the second period.
Monroe had its chances, including five power plays, but couldn't find any room to work in the offensive zone, and couldn't get the puck past Hellenbrand. Stoughton would put in an insurance goal at the 8:13 mark of the third period, an unassisted glide down the ice by Hlavacek to give him his 13th goal on the year.
Heath Bear played well, but the Cheesemakers struggled with pace at times and couldn't clear the puck from in front of the net. Bear finished with 19 saves on 22 shots. He sat the final 8:47 of the game for Jayden Johnson, who stopped all eight shots he faced. Coach Barry Einbeck said after the game it wasn't that Bear was playing poorly.
"We just wanted to get him out in that situation," explained Einbeck. "Plus, it got us a good run with Jayden in there, and he did pretty well the rest of the way."
Stoughton coach Doug Kraft thought that the second period's first goal was key. "It kind of let us all exhale," he said after the game. "The second goal came so quick, and it gave us a little bit of a cushion because we knew they'd fight back."
Monroe's two-game win streak, tied for the longest in team history with two other occurrences, was snapped as the Cheesemakers will now play two non-conference games before resuming Badger South play on January 15th at Oregon. Monroe, now 0-14 all-time against Stoughton, will face the Vikings again on February 5th at Mandt Community Center.
Stoughton, ending a three-game losing streak, got their first shutout of the season. They'll play two home games in Badger South action next Monday and Friday against Monona Grove and Milton, respectively.
STOUGHTON (5-9, 3-2): 0|2|1=3
MONROE CO-OP (5-7, 1-5): 0|0|0=0
2P 2:33 - 21-Schreier unassisted - STO 1-0
2P 3:42 - 7-Sanford from 13-Hlavacek (PP) - STO 2-0
3P 8:13 - 13-Hlavacek unassisted - STO 3-0
SOG: Stoughton 30, Monroe 26
GOALTENDERS: 33-Hellenbrand (STO) 26 Saves, 0 Goals Allowed, 31-Bear (MHS) 19 Saves, 3 Goals Allowed, 33-Johnson (MHS) 8 Saves, 0 Goals Allowed
POWER PLAY: Stoughton 1-3, Monroe 0-5
PENALTIES: Stoughton 5 for 10 minutes, Monroe 3 for 6 minutes