Holiday weekends can put a stress on any athletes. Every season on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving the Coulee Region Chill find themselves on the ice mere hours before enjoying a large buffet of great food with their families and/or billet families.
The odd-off day in the latter half of the week puts a spin on their routine. And it just so happens that Thanksgiving this year fell in the middle of a three-game weekend starting off with the Janesville Jets this past Wednesday.
After a slow first period for both teams Coulee Region’s Bailey Martin (Nick Bowman, Tomas Vochozka) took advantage of a slashing minor committed by Janesville’s Justin Bofshever early in the middle frame to go up 1-0. They held the lead up until the 16:32 mark before the Jets tied the game up at one.
Same story in the third period except this time it was Connor Zilisch (Brandon Koch, Martin) scoring on the power play with Bofshever serving a slashing minor. Janesville once again tied the game and eventually forced overtime.
In what was a very offensive game – Jets and Chill with 49 and 40 shots, respectively – neither team could convert in overtime. Forced into their sixth shootout in the month of November, neither Marshal Plunkett or Andrew McGlynn could pick up a goal as the Jets forced two past goalie Josh Graziano who finished with 47/49 saves on the night.
After the off day the Chill hit I-90 West bound for Austin for a home-and-home series with the Bruins. Coulee Region surrendered two goals — one shorthanded — in the first period despite seeing just eight shots. Plunkett (Vochozka, Matt Hines) made it 1-2 just 25 seconds into the second period and it stayed that way until the 14:01 mark. Austin proceeded to score two more goals, taking a 4-1 lead into the third period.
Coulee Region’s Tyler Ebner (McGlynn, Jackson Decker) gave the Chill a last hope with 7:53 remaining but Austin’s Travis Kothenbeutel scored late on an empty netter to prevent any hopes for a comeback.
Graziano got the call for the second consecutive night.
Fast forward to Saturday. The Chill brought the series back to La Crosse where they beat the Bruins 2-1 just 15 days prior. The contest had little action when you look at the box score; just three penalties committed by each team. And the one goal scored all night came way of Austin’s Evan Cholak with 12:07 left in the game.
It was another solid effort from Graziano but he’d be tallied for the loss, saving 29/30 shots in just over 58 minutes of action.
Coulee Region plays host to the Minnesota Magicians this Thursday night in what’s the first college night of the year. All students get in free with proof of their college ID. Then it’s off to Richfield Saturday night to finish the home-and-home series against the Magicians.