A difficult season came to an abrupt end for the Grafton/Port Washington Ice Hawks in the WIAA playoffs last week.
Cedarburg defeated the Ice Hawks, 11-2, in a regional opener Feb. 14 at the Ozaukee Ice Center.
“We came out just fine and played well. We’re losing, 3-0, and we get a goal and get back in this game,” Hawks coach Tony Rieck said.
But Grafton/Port received an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty for celebrating too much, and it was downhill from there.
Cedarburg responded with five unanswered goals and cruised the rest of the way
“Mentally we weren’t there,” said Rieck, who tried benching his seniors to send a message, but it was too late.
The Hawks’ goals both came in the second period, with Steve Wick and Tim Grams doing the honors. Bryce Fisk assisted on the first score, and Wick set up Grams for the other.
Cedarburg outshot the Hawks, 59-16.
The loss left Grafton/Port with a 5-19 record.
Cedarburg lost to Brookfield, 4-0, last Friday and finished the season 15-8-2.
Despite the tough season, Rieck sees a bright future for his young, inexperienced team.
“We had a lot of kids who really worked hard, but we had a lot of kids who were OK with just hanging out and playing,” he said.
“We’re going to get back to the winning ways — off-season workouts and working hard — to bring the class-act program that we’d like to be.”
This year’s experience should help. The Hawks will lose only four players to graduation — Wick, Jake Grams, Shelby McPhail and Jordan Smith.
“A lot of our young kids got an eye-opener throughout the year,” Rieck said.
“We caught up a little bit. We know what to do in the off-season to get better.”
Image Information: GRAFTON/PORT WASHINGTON goaltender Dakota Kwasny faced plenty of shots in his team’s 11-2, season-ending loss to Cedarburg on Feb. 14. Photo by Sam Arendt