Special to the Wave
The Wasatch Back JV Hockey team are the Utah JV Champs after they ended the 2017-2018 season on top of the state standings as the only undefeated team (14-0) in the state. Their final game of the season was Saturday Feb 3rd against Riverton. Going into the game Riverton was 11-2, so Wasatch knew victory wasn’t a guarantee and they needed to be ready for a tough match. Riverton came out strong and scored the only goal in the first period. It took just 60 seconds after the start of the second period for Wasatch to rally and tie up the game with a goal by senior Jack Jarvis, assisted by senior Cordell Johnson. It was quickly followed up with a goal by freshman Michael Logan, assisted by senior Juha Nieminen. Riverton answered right back and tied it up 2-2. But that was the last time Riverton would be able to get a puck into the net. Wasatch took the lead almost halfway thru the second period when Michael Logan scored again, this time unassisted. Juha Nieminen got past the Riverton goalie during a short-handed shift after Wasatch took a penalty to make it 4-2. Michael Logan earned a hat trick when he scored his third goal of the game (with an assist by Nieminen) to close out the second period 5-2. Wasatch scored the only goal of the third period when junior Aiden Oram took advantage of a Riverton penalty and passed the puck into the net unassisted. Wasatch had to fight hard when they found themselves down two skaters due to penalties but they worked together and prevented a determined Riverton team from scoring and won the game with a final score of 6-2.
JV coaches James Soderborg, Shawn Oram and Shawn Morrow are very proud of how well the JV team did this season. Wasatch senior and exchange student Juha Nieminen led the league in JV goals while South Summit junior Noel Chavez was fifth. Juha was also the JV leader in assists and Wasatch junior Aidan Oram was fourth. Kudos also go to junior Nathan Morrow for stepping in as the JV goalie for the first time. It is not always an easy transition to go from being an offensive or defensive skater to being a goalie and Nathan did a fantastic job. Congratulations to the entire JV team for a job well done!
The Varsity team is now focused on the Division 1 Independent league state championship playoffs. Their first game was on Monday Feb 5th and they played rivals Uintah. Even though Wasatch won the regular season game against them this year, they lost to Uintah during playoffs last season and was looking for some payback! Wasatch came ready for a hard fight on the ice and skated away with the victory, shutting out Uintah and winning 4-0. South Summit senior Cody Ritzinger got the first goal with assists by Juha Nieminen and Nathan Morrow. It took only 30 seconds for Juha to put the second goal in unassisted. Wasatch closed out the first period up 2-0. Both teams skated hard in the second period and emotions started to run high as the game progressed. Wasatch went down one skater as he served a 10-minute boarding/misconduct penalty. Uintah ended up with two 10-minute misconduct penalties for checking from behind and cross-checking, plus a game ejection. Through all the drama, Nathan Morrow scored the only goal of the second period with an assist by Cody Ritzinger. The third period was a little calmer, with only one penalty for each team. With about three minutes left in the game, Wasatch sealed the win after Nathan Morrow scored his second goal of the game with another assist by Cody Ritzinger. South Summit sophomore Whit Allgood had an outstanding game as goalie, stopping all 20 shots by Uintah and securing the shutout victory for Wasatch.
The next playoff game is tonight, Wed Feb 7th, at 9:45pm. Wasatch will be facing off against UCI-North and it should be another exciting game to watch. Wasatch lost to UCI-North during the regular season by only one goal and will be looking for the win to secure a spot in the semi-finals. The game is at the South Davis Ice Rink, located at 550 North 200 West in Bountiful. Admission to playoff games is $3. Please come out and support your local hockey team in the state championship bid. Go WASTACH BACK!