STOUGHTON — Bolstered by a potent attack and stingy defense, the Madison Edgewood boys hockey team is undefeated and rolling in Badger South Conference play.
On Thursday night, junior forward Teddy Kluesner scored twice and senior goaltender Shane Ryan turned away 19 shots for the Crusaders, who scored three power-play goals and blanked host Stoughton 5-0 at the Mandt Community Center Ice Arena.
“It is pretty balanced that way,” Crusaders coach Pete Rothering said about his team’s strong offensive and defensive units. “We’ve had a little lull the last week-and-a-half or two weeks. We won games, but our performance was better tonight. In the first two periods, we had good energy and a good jump. We talked before the game that we are building toward the playoffs, so tonight was pretty good, yeah.”
League leader Edgewood (14-4-2 overall, 9-0-0 Badger South), receiving honorable mention recognition in the Wisconsinprephockey.net coaches’ poll, shut out Stoughton (6-11-0, 5-4-0) for the second time this season. The Crusaders, averaging more than five goals per game, scored four times in the first two periods.
Kluesner scored his second goal and Edgewood’s third power-play goal at the 9-minute, 55-second mark of the third period, extending the lead to 5-0 for the Crusaders, who entered the game scoring on 24.2 percent of their power-play chances.
“I think we came out really hard tonight,” Kluesner said. “I thought we did a great job in the first period popping a couple in early and keeping our foot on the gas the rest of the game. I thought we were executing really well and that led to a lot of opportunities.”
Junior forward Jake Schmaltz — off assists from senior forward Carter Hottmann and sophomore forward Drew Lenz — opened the scoring for the Crusaders with a power-play goal 7:12 into the game.
“They move the puck really, really well, especially on the power play,” Vikings coach Kris Rosholt said. “We haven’t seen any teams move the puck that fast all year. Our guys weren’t quite ready for that. It caught us off guard and they capitalized on some of our mistakes.”
Only 1:17 after the Crusaders’ first goal, Lenz scored to make it 2-0. But later Lenz was injured — he was the recipient of a cross-checking penalty with 3:52 left in the opening period — and didn’t return.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Kluesner blasted in a shot through traffic from out front — giving the Crusaders a 3-0 advantage at the 6:17 mark of the second period. Kluesner, who has 13 goals this season, also scored two goals in Edgewood’s 8-0 victory over Stoughton Dec. 15.
“My goal scoring has ramped up a lot this year,” Kluesner said. “It’s been a lot of hard work over the summer. I was able to find a couple of soft spots and get a couple shots off. Mark Luebke gave me a great feed on my first goal.”
Edgewood’s second power-play goal came later in the second period when senior defenseman Nathan Rehm scored off assists from seniors Quinn Friedow and Gabe Brown, who also was credited with an assist on Lenz’s first-period goal.
“Two of our power-play goals came from our second unit,” Rothering said. “We got some secondary scoring tonight. Hottmann and Schmaltz have been scoring a lot of our goals, but tonight four of our goals were from some other guys, other lines. That depth is a big strength for us going into the stretch run.”
Hottmann entered the game leading the state in goals (32) and was second with 48 points (he now has 49).
The Crusaders were on the attack throughout, forcing Stoughton junior goaltender Carson Roisum to make 49 saves.
“To me, it felt like 65 or 70 shots,” Rosholt said. “I think 49 is a little low. He kept us in the game. He is playing very, very well.”
Said Rothering: “I think Roisum is a very good goaltender. He stopped a lot of good looks tonight.”
Madison Edgewood 2 2 1 — 5
Stoughton 0 0 0 — 0
First period: ME — Schmaltz (Hottmann, Lenz), 7:12 (pp); Lenz (Royer, Brown), 8:29.
Second period: ME — Kluesner (Luebke, Smith), 6:17; Rehm (Friedow, Brown), 12:26 (pp).
Third period: ME — Kluesner (Luebke, Smith), 9:55 (pp).
Saves: ME (Ryan) 19; S (Roisum) 49.