The La Crosse Freeze entered their fourth weekend of hockey this past weekend. It was a three-game homestand; first up, the Rochester Ice Hawks.
Friday night wasn’t their first matchup with La Crosse’s I-90 foe. The Freeze beat the Ice Hawks 8-1 at the Green Island Ice Arena almost a month previously in their home opener. And like game one, the Freeze dominate home ice once again and put up eight more goals on the Ice Hawks.
Freeze veteran Alec Seeger (Clayton Lackey) scored in the first. Lackey (Ethan Bettis), Laudon Poellinger (Jacob Garman), and Seeger (Lackey, Matthew Francois) score in the second. Benjamin Beversdorf (Brandon Ratzloff), Caleb Beversdorf (B. Beversdorf, Keation Caplis), and Garman finished the scoring out as the Freeze win 8-4. Koby Lukehart got his first win in a Freeze uniform, saving 26/30 shots on the night.
Friday nights momentum carried throughout the weekend. Saturday night the Willmar Warhawks came to town and were slow coming off the bus. Ratzloff (Garman) and Lackey gave the Freeze a 2-1 lead in the first while Garman and Lackey (Seeger) extended the lead to 4-1 in the second. Willmar hit the back of the net early in the third but Lackey added a second insurance goal late in the game, giving La Crosse the 5-2 win. Will Graves, in his third season with the Freeze, picked up the win saving 30/32 shots in the win.
After the first two games were controlled by the Freeze fans at Green Island were treated to a back-and-forth game on Sunday. Willmar came out looking for revenge, scoring two goals in the game’s first five minutes. In the second period a collection of Brock Zukowski (Nathan Marquardt, Seeger) and Ratzloff (Garman) goals tied the game going into the final frame. Willmar quickly took a 3-2 lead just 1:14 in but Caplis (Seeger, Zukowski) converted on a power play goal to tie the game.
After tying the game at three, both teams failed to convert and overtime was forced. But all it took was just 35 seconds for Poellinger (Jacob Silverstein) to give the Freeze the weekend sweep. Silverstein outdueled Willmar goalie Brady Anderson, saving 30/33 shots on the afternoon.
Next weekend the Freeze face Wisconsin and Central Division rival, the Wisconsin Whalers. La Crosse hosts Friday night before heading to the Oregon Ice Arena on Saturday night with the puck set to drop at 7pm both nights.