The La Crosse Freeze and Wausau RiverWolves have become very familiar with one another over the course of the last month. Wausau, fresh off a relocation from Chicago, joined the Freeze this season as the third NA3HL team in the country that calls the state of Wisconsin home.
Now the two teams aren’t only fighting for Wisconsin bragging rights but also the right to call themselves Central Division champs. And the rivalry continued this past Friday and Saturday, starting out in Wausau where the Freeze have, albeit won, had very competitive games with the RiverWolves. And Friday night was no exception.
La Crosse’s John Menzies (Toon De Schepper, Brady Lindauer) and Caleb Beversdorf (Benjamin Beversdorf, Brock Zukowski) both scored in the first while Wausau scored in between. Lindauer (Clayton Lackey, Menzies) made it 3-1 before Wausau came back with three consecutive goals of their own.
Down 3-4 almost halfway through the final period, De Schepper tied the game and Menzies (Lindauer, Thomas Magnavite) scored the eventual game winning and insurance goal to complete the hat trick in his first game with the Freeze.
Both Koby Lukehart and Will Graves got time in net with Graves picking up the win.
Saturday nights tilt moved to La Crosse and like the third period from the night before the Freeze were in control the whole time.
The first period all saw goals from Lackey (Lindauer, Laudon Poellinger), Matthew Francois (2) (Magnavite, Jacob Garman), and Ethan Bettis (Lackey, Lindauer) all scored prior to the first intermission. Poellinger (Brandon Ratzloff, Bettis) and Lackey (De Schepper, Nathan Marquardt) both scored in the second with Marcus Tilmon (Ratzloff) finishing it off in the third.
The Freeze would go on to win 7-0 behind not only the offensive sticks but also the pads of goalie Jacob Silverstein as he picked up his sixth win on the season by stopping all 18 shots on the night.
Freeze fans had some deja vu Sunday afternoon with the Rochester Ice Hawks in town. What may have been more impressive than the seven goals La Crosse scored were the 31 total penalties between both teams.
Magnavite (Francois, Garman) and Tilmon (2) (Garman, Magnavite, Alec Seeger, Ratzloff) got things started in the first period with Tilmon’s goal at the 8:23 mark being the first-of-four Freeze power play goals. Tilmon (De Schepper, Menzies) completed the hat trick halfway through the second period while Francois (Poellinger, Lindauer) made it 5-0 going into the third. Lackey (Lindauer, Poellinger) finished the scoring out in the third with two more goals of his own, finishing the weekend tied for first in the NA3HL in goals with 20.
With the three-game sweep this past weekend the Freeze now find themselves back on top of the Central Division in the middle of November, three points above the North Iowa Bulls. They take the lead into an off weekend, hitting the ice the Wednesday before Thanksgiving against the Wisconsin Whalers in Oregon, WI.