Madison West senior forward Colin Pulkrabek fine-tunes the same move on the goaltender every time the Regents work on their shootout drill.
“I try to fake him out and see if he goes the other way,” Pulkrabek said.
Pulkrabek, despite acknowledging feeling nervousness, used his deke technique to perfection against Madison Memorial sophomore goaltender Wes Turner on Friday night. Pulkrabek scored the shootout goal that decided the ninth annual Culver’s Cup tournament boys hockey championship game at Madison Ice Arena.
The game ended in a 2-2 deadlock after an 8-minute overtime, meaning the result will be a tie for Madison West (7-3-2) and Madison Memorial (6-5-2). But a shootout was played to determine the Cup winner. Regents senior Sam Loving scored in the first round and Pulkrabek scored in the third round, giving Madison West a 2-0 shootout decision.
The two Big Eight Conference rivals engaged in a tight, hard-fought defensive duel only last week; West came away with a 2-1 victory as Pulkrabek scored both Regents’ goals. There was more of the same Friday in the fast-paced affair.
“It was just like it,” Regents coach Steve Libert said.
Said Pulkrabek: “They are a good team. They grind as hard as we do. I expected the same thing as the last game.”
Junior forward Drake Baldwin’s unassisted goal with 5 minutes, 6 seconds left in the third period gave the Regents a 2-1 lead. But the Spartans responded with senior forward Ryan Buckalew’s power-play goal with 3:25 left in regulation.
“It was a hard-fought battle right from the get-go,” said Madison Memorial coach Jon Spencer, whose team is 1-2-2 in overtime games this season. “I think there was more passion (compared to last week’s game). It is a game between two rivals and it’s for the championship of the tournament. It had a little more meaning. We have a group like West does that will battle until the end.”
Libert said his team needed no pep talk.
“It was Madison West and Madison Memorial, I didn’t have to say anything,” Libert said.
“I knew they would be ready. It’s a good group of kids. They work hard. Our No. 1 skill is our effort.”
Due to penalties, the Regents had a 4-on-3 situation with 1:36 left in overtime and Baldwin just missed scoring when his shot ricocheted off the crossbar with 1:02 left.
The Spartans scored first when senior forward Brandon Schaefer took a pass from sophomore forward Jack Faulkner and broke free for a short-handed goal with 4:20 left in the first period.
Madison West, after killing off a penalty, had a two-player advantage on the power play for 18 seconds. The Regents were still in the midst of a one-man advantage when Schaefer got loose and beat Madison West senior goaltender Adam Buencamino, who made nine saves in the first period.
The Regents tied the game 1-1 when Pulkrabek scored on a rebound of a shot by Loving 2:32 into the second period.
“We have put in a ton of work,” Pulkrabek said. “I think this team has a high ceiling. … Hopefully, we can make a run and can do something special.”
Turner made 10 second-period saves as Madison West peppered the net with shots.
Regents senior forward Riley Lanham’s shot bounced through the crease with 2:36 remaining in the second period and Madison West on the power play.
Madison West, led by Baldwin’s two goals, advanced to the final with a 3-2 victory over Portage/Baraboo in Thursday’s semifinals. Junior forward Parker Lindauer scored the first three goals and sophomore forward Derek Buckalew added two goals in the Spartans’ 6-0 semifinal victory over Lakeland.
Madison Memorial 1 0 1 0 — 2
Madison West 0 1 1 0 — 2
First period: MM — Schaeffer (Faulkner), 12:40 (sh).
Second period: MW — Pulkrabek (Loving), 2:22.
Third Period: MW — Baldwin, 11:54; MM — Buckalew (Lindauer), 13:35 (pp).
Shootout: MW 2, MM 0
Saves: MM (Turner) 24, MW (Buencamino) 24.