Prep boys hockey: Kaden Brunson puts four biscuits in the basket for Sun Prairie against Oregon

February 2, 2019

SUN PRAIRIE — Sun Prairie junior forward Kaden Brunson recalls getting hat tricks a few times during his prep career.

But he never celebrated a four-goal outburst in high school before Friday night.

Brunson scored his team’s first four goals, including three in the first period, to lead Sun Prairie to a 6-2 victory over Oregon in a Groundhog Tournament boys hockey game at the Sun Prairie Ice Arena.

“It was a great experience,” Brunson said. “It was a lot of fun. I’ve had (three goals) in the last two games, but I had struggled before that, I guess. I just put it all together today. It felt good to get back on the scoresheet.”

Brunson had a power-play goal, even-strength goal and short-handed goal in the first period for the Cardinals (17-3-0), ranked seventh in the WisconsinPrepHockey.net state coaches’ poll.

The unassisted, short-handed goal at the 13-minute, 18-second mark gave Sun Prairie a 3-1 lead after forward Laszlo Orosz’s goal at 11:18 into the period rallied Oregon (8-8-0) within one.

“It was his night tonight,” Sun Prairie coach Chris Finkler said of Brunson, who entered Friday’s game with 10 goals this season. “That is one of the things our team can do. It just depends on the night and who will show up for us. And he was the guy tonight. I think he would say it’s refreshing for him. It’s been a little while since he’s done something like that.”

Oregon coach Larry Clemens must have felt like he was watching the movie “Groundhog Day” after seeing Brunson score over and over again. Clemens, who said he coached Brunson at the under-16 level in the Wisconsin Elite Hockey League, had an inkling Brunson might erupt.

“I actually talked to coach Finkler before the game and I told him that’s the one player I’m nervous about,” Clemens said. “I said, `No. 11 is going to have a coming-out party today.’ … He was the guy I was nervous about and then he scored, and then he scored, and then he scored, and then he scored. And I was like, `Oh, shoot.’ ’’

After the Panthers pulled within 3-2 on forward Zak Roskos’ power-play goal at 9:29 of the second period, the Cardinals pulled away with three third-period goals — the first scored by Brunson at 3:31.

Senior forward Travis Kernan and junior forward Carter Watters also scored for Sun Prairie, and senior forward Benett Halbleib and sophomore defenseman Nick Johnson each had three assists.

“I thought our start was great,” Finkler said. “We came out ready to go and really pushed the pace on them, and made them play our style of game. We got up and down the ice quite well.”

“The team was really energized,” Brunson said. “We were upbeat before the game and we came out with a lot of speed. We made some great plays early on and scored those goals.”

The game was one of four played Friday in the eight-team Groundhog Tournament, which was revamped from three rounds to two after first-round games Tuesday were postponed due to snowy and frigid weather.

Instead of a bracket format, a point system and tiebreaker will be used to determine the overall winner in the eight-team tournament. The point system features one point for each period won, three points for a victory and one point for a shutout. The tiebreaker will be goal differential.

Oregon 1 1 0 — 2

Sun Prairie 3 0 3 — 6

First period: SP — Brunson (Kernan, Halbleib), 5:42, pp; Brunson (Johnson, Halbleib), 8:32. O — Orosz (Roskos), 11:18. SP — Brunson (unassisted), 13:18, sh.

Second period: O — Roskos (Brien, Franken), 9:29, pp.

Third period: SP — Brunson (Hagerman, Johnson), 3:31, pp; Kernan (Halbleib), 7:02; Watters (Johnson, Rowles), 14:12.

Saves: O (Dailey) 43; SP (Leatherberry) 24.

Penalties: O 7-17; SP 7-14.

Madison Memorial 11,

Monona Grove 1

Jack Helle and Parker Lindauer each delivered hat tricks and Tyler Nelson had a pair of scores to lead the Spartans (11-10-0) past the Silver Eagles (8-11-0). Tanner Smith scored for Monona Grove.

Tyler Kreft made 12 saves and Oliver Van Note four in goal for Memorial. Monona Grove’s Andrew Gilbertson turned back 50 shots.

Wales Kettle Moraine co-op 3,

Waunakee 2

The visiting Lasers (13-4-2) scored two second-period goals to open a 3-0 lead, and held off a comeback bid by the Warriors (13-7-0).

Jacob Werlein scored a second-period goal for Waunakee, and McCarthy Reed made it a one-goal game with a power-play goal at 9:06 of the third.

Waukesha North co-op 4, DeForest 0

The Wings (11-7-2) took a 3-0 lead after the first period and held the Norskies (2-15-0) to eight shots on goal. Tyler Dale scored twice for Waukesha.

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