Antigo’s Pee Wee (12U) hockey players are officially part of the Merrill team this season, but that didn’t stop Antigo from hosting a Pee Wee Tournament this past weekend, with the local skaters faring well.
With a contingent of 15 skaters, including Antigo’s Cade Tiedemann, Carson Rhode, Alex Brittenham, Liam Burt, Ethan Novy, Parker Chaney and Parker Paff, Merrill opened play Friday night against Marinette and Menominee and fell by an 8-2 final score.
Things got away from Merrill quickly, as the Thunder scored three times in the first period and added another five in the second. The second period saw a pair of shorthanded goals from Marinette and Menominee, as well as one power play score, as special teams play did not work in Merrill’s favor.
Jackson Pierce scored both Merrill goals in defeat, with assists from Alex Petrowski and Ryker Remington.
Goaltender Maxwel Seeger was credited with 16 saves.
Saturday, the Pee Wees returned to play and bounced back with a 4-1 win against Stevens Point.
The score stood at 2-1 in Merrill’s favor as the game entered the third period, from there it was Remington and Erik Grunenwald finding the back of the net as the Blue Jays pulled away for the win.
The goal was the second for Grunenwald, who also scored in the first period.
Burt tallied Merrill’s first goal, an unassisted score on the power play in the first.
Tiedemann netted an assist on Grunenwald’s first goal, while Brody Klebenow assisted on the final two scores.
Seeger stopped 21 in net.
The win moved Antigo in Sunday’s championship game, a rematch with Marinette and Menominee, and this time it was a much different affair.
An energized Merrill team put 49 shots on goal, outshooting the Thunder 49-25 and winning by a 9-1 final.
A huge seven-goal second period deflated the visitors as the Blue Jays emerged tournament champions.
It was certainly a balanced scoring effort, with eight different skaters finding the back of the net in the win, led by Grunenwald’s two goals.
Players with two points, coming on a goal and an assist included Paff, Tiedemann, Klebenow and Connor Zdroik.
Further goals came from the sticks of Remington, Burt and Petrowski.
Rhode, Pierce and Payton Hagenbusher all were credited with assists.
Seeger had a nice game in goal, stopping 24 of 25 Thunder shots for the win.