For Wausau Pilot & Review

WAUSAU – The Wausau Cyclones junior hockey team took on the Oregon Tradesmen, the first-place team in the Central Division, this past weekend.

Wausau won 6-2 on Friday night and lost 3-2 on Saturday in front of a sold-out Marathon Park Ice Arena crowd, which was the first of six-straight weekends the Cyclones will be at home.

On Friday night, Wausau got on the board first at 8:57 of the first period when Josh Christofferson netted his fifth goal of the season and his first versus his former team. The Cyclones extended the lead to 2-0 just 1:05 later as Brennan Valencia scored his second goal in the last three games.

Oregon got on the scoreboard at 11:36 of the second, but Wausau answered right back with a goal from Ricky Nelson 1:26 later. The goal was assisted by Gabe Randel and Adam Napravnik. Oregon made it a one goal game with just 58 seconds remaining in the second period.

Wausau took it to first-place Oregon in the final period as it netted goals from Adam Wiggins, Isaac Baker and an empty-net goal from Chase Chapman to close out at 6-2 win. The win for Wausau was their fifth in the last six games. Collin Lemanski picked up the win for Wausau after stopping 32 of 34 shots faced.

Saturday night’s game was a hard-fought Central Division battle. Oregon scored first at 5:55 of the first with a goal from Max McNeil. Cyclone forward Zac Maupin tied the game at two with his seventh goal of the season.

The game remained tied at 1-1 until 2:54 of the second. Dillion Schmidt netted his second goal of the weekend on an assist from Dayne Deanovich. Oregon extended the lead eight minutes later to make it a 3-1 lead.

Wausau answered back at 2:45 of the third with a goal from Easton Plachetka. The Cyclones did have several chances to even the contest in the final period, but their best came when forward Gage Vierzba drew a penalty shot opportunity with under eight minutes remaining. Vierzba was unable to capitalize as his shot went just wide of the right goal post. Ryan Burke took the loss after stopping 38 of 41 shots.

The Cyclones will be home again this weekend as they take on the St. Louis Jr. Blues on Friday and Saturday. A Cyclones Hockey Beanie giveaway is Jan. 27, and don’t forget to wear flannel, presented by Flannel Check & Genentech & Aspirus Health.  Aspirus will be onsite scheduling Lung Cancer Screenings and education on the signs and symptoms of stroke, and don’t miss the “Los Ciclones” T-Shirt Giveaway on Jan. 28, presented by La Taqueria. Puck drops at 7:10 p.m. both nights at the Marathon Park Ice Arena. Buy tickets online via wausaucyclones.com. Stay connected during the season by following the Cyclones @wausaucyclones on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok and online at wausaucyclones.com. Subscribe to the Cyclones podcast “Inside Cyclones Hockey”, available on your favorite podcast network.

The Cyclones are members of the North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL), one of three USA Hockey-sanctioned Tier III Junior leagues, serves as one of the top training grounds in the country by providing the best coaching, exposure and developmental vehicles available for student-athletes in its classification.  The primary mission of the NA3HL is to provide a structured developmental environment for student-athletes who have aspirations of playing in the NAHL or United States Hockey League and eventually the NCAA or American College Hockey Association.  For more information, visit wausaucyclones.com.