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Coulee vies for rebound prior to leaving Alaska

Typically a sweep will give a junior hockey team momentum. Aspiration to continue the fight. And typically a long road trip will do the exact opposite.

The Coulee Region Chill began 2018 with a sweep over the Minnesota Wilderness of the Central Division. That was prior to last weeks annual journey to take on Alaskan Central Division opponents, the Kenai River Brown Bears and Fairbanks Ice Dogs.

Travel isn’t an excuse, at least not one that head coach Ryan Egan would use for his hockey team. But it is certainly a factor for any teams having to make the trip.

For the Chill it was the Brown Bears that were first on the schedule for their five-game slate. Friday night’s game started slow with Kenai River jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first period. Andrew McGlynn teamed up with Jackson Decker to score on a power play after a minor hooking call on Kenai River.

In the third period, with the Chill facing a 1-3 deficit, Kevin Bryant scored to give Coulee Region life midway through the frame (Holland; Dabrowski). The clock would eventual strike zero on the Chill’s night, falling behind another solid effort from Emil Zetterquist in net.

Saturday night both teams seemed to find the net a lot easier; after a scoreless first period in which both teams combined for 15 shots, both Coulee Region and Kenai River both scored twice in the second, Jackson Decker and Tomas Vochozka both scoring for the Chill in the last four minutes of the period.

Fast forward to the tail end of the final period. Much like the period before, the Chill were facing a two-goal deficit in the final five minutes. This time it was Connor Szmul and Gavin Holland that found the back of the net, forcing overtime.

In what was a back-and-forth regulation it was the Brown Bears that had their way in the extra period, finding their way past Chill goalie Josh Graziano. The Chill would lose 4-5.

The upcoming weekend doesn’t get any easier for Egan and the Chill. The three-game series against Fairbanks begins on Thursday night and then it’s back to Wisconsin, adjusting back to the Central time zone and preparing for a mid-week contest against the Minnesota Magicians.

Chill begin 2018 with sweep

The first half of the season wasn’t what the Coulee Region Chill was looking for. On the outside looking in for the Robertson Cup Playoffs they knew that a strong start to the second half was crucial.

Now with one weekend in the books, 2018 is off to a great start for Ryan Egan and his Chill squad. On Friday night the chill found themselves down a single goal after the first period but came back by putting up eight goals over the final two periods.

Nick Bowman was the first start of the night, scoring three goals and two assists. Sam Dabrowski and Andy McGlynn added two goals themselves with Connor Zilisch and Tomas Vochozka both adding one each.

Emil Zetterquist started the night out in net and saved 24/26 shots before Josh Graziano came in just 12 seconds in the third, after an injury to Zetterquist.  

While Friday’s contest was won with a bang, it was Saturday night that showcased resiliency and  tough goalkeeping to finalize the sweep.

Through 60 minutes Zetterquist faced 45 shots, allowing just one puck past him early in the third period en route to his sixth win on the season. Jackson Decker and Kevin Bryant put the Chill on the board with their second and third goals of the season in the first and second period, respectively.

Great shots and goalkeeping were key but it was Coulee Region’s discipline throughout all six periods on the weekend that helped pave the way; two penalties were committed by the Chill on Friday night and a single cross-checking penalty on Saturday night.

Over the next two weekends the Chill will be in Alaska: first up, the Kenai River Brown Bears for a two-game series next weekend and a three-game set against the Fairbanks Ice Dogs the following weekend.

Go Chill!

Coulee takes one of three game set

The season of learning continues for the Coulee Region Chill and second-year head coach Ryan Egan. This past weekend the Chill dropped two games to Midwest Division opponents, coming away victorious in just one. They did, however, put up another strong fight.

For the second time this season the Chill traveled down to Springfield to take on the Jr. Blues, a divisional series that takes place three times throughout the season. The first series of the season took place in the middle of November and ended in a 1-1 split.

This time around the first-of-two games kicked off last Thursday night. The Chill got off to a quick start, scoring three unanswered goals in the first 21:25 of the game with Nick Bowman (Connor Szmul, Andy McGlynn), McGlynn (Logan Kon, Collin Price), and Louis Helson (Hunter Canestra) all finding twine.

After taking a 3-0 lead nothing else went right for the Chill who went 0-5 on the power play for the night. Springfield went on to score five times – once with an empty net – to take home the game one win. Chill goalie Josh Graziano saved 36/40 shots.

Friday night the scoreboard flipped. Marshal Plunkett (Matt Hines, Szmul) gave the Chill one in the first to keep pace with Springfield’s two while Connor Zilisch (Zetterquist, Sam Dabrowski), along with a goal from Hunter Canestra (McGlynn, Hines), gave the Chill a 4-3 lead going into the third period. Hines (Plunkett, Dabrowski) scored the insurance goal and put an end to any Jr. Blues comeback with an empty netter with just 24 seconds remaining. Zetterquist got his revenge on the Jr. Blues in this one ending the night with 32/35 saves and an assist.

The weekend wasn’t done in Springfield. The Chill took the long bus ride home Friday night for a contest against the Kenai River Brown Bears Saturday night. Price (Hines) clearly didn’t feel the effects of a long bus ride from the night before, scoring just 26 seconds in.

Kenai River scored the next two goals, taking a 2-1 lead into the final period. Tyler Ebner (Nick Lund) tied the game with just over six minutes left but the Brown Bears took the lead back 11 seconds later.

With under two minutes left, Zetterquist left the ice to give the Chill a man advantage. Kenai River took advantage and scored on the empty net. Price (Bailey Martin, Zilisch) scored for the second time on the night to bring the Chill within one again but it would be too little, too late.

Zetterquist saved 37/40 shots on the night.

The Chill find themselves just two games away from Christmas break, hosting the Fairbanks Ice Dogs Friday and Saturday night at the Green Island Ice Arena. After that they’ll have time to reflect on the first half of the season and refocus for a strong second half push.

Young Coulee Region team striving to improve

The last couple weekends haven’t been the best for the young Coulee Region Chill team. It’s a slump you’ll find with any inexperienced squad no matter the league they’re competing in.

This past weekend was another learning experience going up against the Minnesota Magicians, a Midwest Divisional opponent. The Chill, who’ve been no stranger to close games this season, fell down 0-2 with two quick goals from the Magicians in the second period. Tyler Ebner (Jackson Decker, Billy Duma) brought the deficit within one and Tomas Vochozka (Ebner, Decker) tied the game up at the 8:35 mark in the third.

Minnesota’s Calvin Dybicz’ goal with less than seven minutes remaining in the contest game the Magicians all they’d to win last Thursday night.

In his first game since November 18th Emil Zetterquist saved 28/31 shots on the night.

Like two nights before the Chill dug themselves into a hole prior to the midway mark in the second period. Down 0-3 Vochozka (Nick Bowman, Brandon Koch) cracked the box score on by way of the power play.

Sam Dabrowski (Jesper Solomon Frisell, Hunter Canestra) did the same in the third on a power play goal to close the gap back to two goals but it took just two and a half minutes for the Magicians extended their lead back to three.

Connor Zilisch (Canestra) made it 3-5 with 4:34 remaining, enough time to give Coulee Region hope for a comeback. Head coach Ryan Egan made the call to pull Josh Graziano from the net and the Magicians took advantage, capping off the sweep with a 3-6 win. Graziano saved 34/39 shots in the contest.

Looking ahead to action this weekend the Chill head to Springfield for a Thursday and Friday night series against the Jr. Blues. Coulee returns home on Saturday night to face the Kenai River Brown Bears.

Chill will try to rebound in series against Magicians

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.

Coulee Region splits series in Springfield

It’s been awhile since the Coulee Region Chill spent the weekend away from the Green Island Ice Arena. In fact, since their home opener on October 21st the Chill hadn’t played more than one consecutive game away from their home ice, playing a total of seven straight contests in La Crosse, WI.

The trip down to Springfield, IL is by no means a short one, a mile short of a 400 mile road trip. That didn’t mean much to the Chill last Friday night, however, taking down their Midwest Divisional opponent 7-1.

Coulee Region’s Billy Duma (Marshal Plunkett, Bailey Martin) starting the scoring route just 5:51 into the first period. Shortly thereafter Springfield tied the game at one just before Martin (Tomas Vochozka, Nick Bowman) and Brandon Koch (Vochozka, Bowman) scored on consecutive power plays to end the first period.

Domination continued for the Chill through the second period as they continued to take advantage of the power play. Veteran Andrew McGlynn (Plunkett, Tyler Ebner) and Martin (Bowman, Vochozka) made it a 5-1 Chill lead at the second intermission. Jesper Solomon Frisell (Ebner, Jackson Decker) and Connor Szmul (Connor Zilisch, Louis Helson) scored in the third to round out Friday night action.

Friday nights game was an all-around effort in every aspect. Coulee Region stayed out of the box, committing just one minor penalty in the first period. The Chill were outshot 24-44 but Josh Graziano held Springfield in check stopping 43 shots.

On Saturday night the Jr. Blues got out to a quick start, scoring the first two goals of the game within the first three minutes in both the first and second periods. Down 0-2 with 3:30 left before the second intermission Bowman, the Midwest Division Star of the Week, got the Chill on the board with helpers from McGlynn and captain Matt Hines. Hines (Bowman, Vochozka) followed up his assist 38 seconds later to tie the game, and Zilisch (Vochozka, Bowman) gave the Chill the 3-2 advantage before the second intermisison.

After an early Springfield goal in the third no one could crack either goalie up until it was time for a shootout. Springfield scored first in the shootout followed by McGlynn. From there it was all about the goalies as the Chill went through eight shooters before Springfield could capitalize and win game two, 4-3.

Emil Zetterquist had his busiest night of the year thus far playing 65 minutes of action and facing a total of 54 shots.

The Chill face a three-game weekend starting Thanksgiving Eve against the Janesville Jets at home before entering a home-and-home series with the Austin Bruins on Friday and Saturday night.

Chill work to gain points in three-shootout weekend

If you like extra hockey, this past weekend was your kind of weekend. If you’re a Coulee Region Chill fan you were on the edge of your seat in every game including one against the Minnesota Magicians on Thursday night and both against the Austin Bruins on Friday and Saturday night.

The long weekend began on the right foot with Kevin Bryant (Billy Duma, Sam Dabrowski) scoring his first NAHL goal this season 11:07 into action. Over the next period and a half the only action could be found in the penalty boxes with the Chill serving three and the Magicians serving two.

Chill goalie Emil Zetterquist held a shutout until 7:09 in into the third period when Minnesota’s Kyler Grundy broke the scoring drought on the man advantage. The momentum carried on for another 27 seconds as the Magicians scored once again, giving them the 2-1 advantage.

A goal at the 12:09 mark by Coulee Region’s Thomas Vochozka (Nick Bowman, Brandon Koch) tied the game at two and eventually forced overtime.

After both teams failed to score in the extra period the Chill entered the first-of-three shootouts on the weekend. Minnesota’s Matthew Stanton scored right off the bat and it’s all they’d need as Magician’s goalie George McBey blanketed all three Chill shooters. Zetterquist finished the night saving 34/36 shots.

Friday night it was on to the first match between the Chill and the Bruins in the 2017-18 season. The home-and-home series started off in La Crosse at the Green Island Ice Arena.

Austin scored the first goal of the night with 4:05 left in the final period and it wasn’t until 17 seconds remaining that Andy McGlynn (Matt Hines, Bowman) tied the game to force overtime.

After no scores in OT the Chill entered their second consecutive shootout. First up to hit the ice was McGlynn who gave Coulee the 1-0 advantage. The Bruins went through two shooters before their own Dante Zapata forced an extended shootout period. It took both teams four shooters before one man, Chill captain Matt Hines, came through to give the Chill their fifth win of the season. Josh Graziano got the start and the victory, saving 31/32 shots.

Saturday night the two teams faced off in Austin. Unlike the night before both teams didn’t go scoreless through the first two frames. Austin scored the only goal in the  first, 4:58 in. Coulee’s Lund (Duma) tied the game at one 56 seconds into the second period but Austin would regain the lead soon thereafter.

Into the third period, Bowman (McGlynn, Vochozka) tied the game at two as both teams needed more time to figure the other out, forcing overtime.

After both teams sent seven shooters each to the ice the night before, Austin would only need two this past Saturday night with the Chill coming up short on all three chances. Zetterquist would fall in his second consecutive shootout saving 33/35 shots on the night.

It’s been a while but the Chill are finally hitting the road for an extended road trip this weekend as they travel to Springfield to take on the Jr. Blues on Friday and Saturday night at 7:05pm and 6:05pm, respectively.

Zetterquist makes NCAA D1 commitment

The Coulee Region Chill, proud members of the North American Hockey League (NAHL), are pleased to announce that goaltender Emil Zetterquist has committed to play NCAA Division I hockey for St. Lawrence University in the ECAC.

Zetterquist, 19, is in his first season playing in the NAHL. The native of Stockholm, Sweden, has made an impact for the Chill since the start of the season, becoming one of the top goaltenders in the NAHL.

Zetterquist (6’1/182) currently ranks 3rd in the NAHL in save percentage with a 94% mark. He also boasts a 4-2-3 record with a 2.27 goals against average and one shutout.

“I’m really honored to get a chance to be a part of the rich hockey culture that St. Lawrence has built. I thank my family and everyone who has helped me on the way. I can’t wait to start my college career as a Saint,” said Zetterquist.

“The Coulee Region Chill is very excited for Emil and his commitment to St. Lawrence University.  Emil has been a large part of our recent success and gives us an opportunity to win every night.  St. Lawrence University is getting a young man who will they will be proud to call a Saint,” said Chill head coach Ryan Egan.

Prior to playing in the NAHL, Zetterquist played in Sweden, including AIK J20 team last season and the Huddinge IK program prior to that.

*Story provided by NAHL

Chill win first home game behind Koch’s three assists and outstanding goaltending

Coulee Region entered this past weekend with just one game on the schedule: a rematch against the Janesville Jets who they’d just played and fell to twice the previous weekend.

Over a month into the season both teams found themselves Saturday night on different ends of the Midwest Division, an irrelevant statistic when both teams hit the ice. At the same time both teams couldn’t find the back of the net in a contest that saw zero goals scored in the first period. The only action from the opening frame was a minor hooking penalty on Janesville.

Things were much of the same in the second period, too. Coulee Region were on the end of three minor penalties, the third of which resulted in a late-period Jets goal to take a 1-0 lead. But it was the Janesville penalty with just 22 seconds left before the second intermission that set the tone for the rest of the game.

Just 1:20 into the final period Connor Zilisch tied the game 1-1 with assists from Brandon Koch and Tomas Vochozka. Zilisch’s goal game with just 18 seconds left on their second power play of the game.

The goal sparked something on the Chill bench; just over a minute later West Salem native Bailey Martin (Koch) scored to give Coulee the lead over their in-state rival. Another power play goal at the 13:19 mark by Nick Bowman (Koch, Jacob Dirks) was the only insurance the Chill would need, winning 3-1 for their first home win of the season.

While Bailey and Koch came home with the first and second star of the night, respectively, it was Emil Zetterquist that stole the show in net. The native from Stockholm, Sweden proved his pad skills are much better than his t-shirt tossing skills, stopping 42/43 shots over the course of 60 minutes en route to his second win of the season.

Chill fans get a treat this weekend with Coulee Region sticking around for a third weekend in a row, hosting the Brookings Blizzard Friday and Saturday night at the Green Island Ice Arena.

Chill fall in season opener

Saturday night was the start to what all the fans have been waiting for since this past April when the Coulee Region Chill fell in the first round of the playoffs to the Janesville Jets. Coincidentally it was the same opponent entering the doors to the Green Island Ice Arena.

The Chill and Jets have a great rivalry and own the state at the NAHL level; both teams organizations’ are the only ones that call Wisconsin home. It’s always a toss up when both teams matchup regardless of overall wins/losses.

Janesville and Coulee Region entered this past weekend at either side of the division standings but that didn’t stop Chill head coach Ryan Egan from getting his young Chill squad ready.

The first period got off to a sloppy start. Veteran Andy McGlynn spent four minutes in the penalty box in the first six minutes of the game, serving one penalty for a too many men minor in the first minute of the game.

Janesville failed to convert on either penalty but still pushed the puck past Chill rookie goalie Emil Zetterquist twice in the first. Marshal Plunkett, native of nearby West Salem, WI, added his own goal 30 seconds into a power play with the help of Billy Duma and McGlynn.

The second period was about the Coulee Region penalty kill, killing off a 3-5 Janesville advantage midway through the period and another minor at 11:58. Plunkett added his second goal of the night (third of the season) with just 4:01 left to play before the second intermission.

Starting the third period with a 5-4 man advantage, the Chill couldn’t find the back of the net. The same can’t be said for Janesville, however, scoring at the 7:26 mark and never looking back.

Zetterquist faced 39 total shots over the course of the contest, saving 36 in 58:40 minutes of action.

A quick turnaround for both teams as they hit the ice at 4pm Sunday afternoon. Again it was the Chill hitting the box early but Janesville took advantage and scored just 2:13 in. Jackson Decker, the man guilty of the cross-checking minor, tied the game with his first goal of the season with passes from Pontus Jigemark and Jacob Dirks.

The second period saw a flurry of goals including three power play goals from Coulee Region and two goals from Janesville. Plunkett (Tyler Ebner, Decker) and Nick Bowman (2) Brandon Koch, Dirks (2), Jigemark) scored for the Chill.

The third period began with a 4-3 Coulee Region lead and it stayed that way for 18 minutes and ten seconds before Janesville tied the game at four. Just 40 seconds later the Jets took a 5-4 lead and finished with an empty netter with 48 seconds left.

Zetterquist got the night off and gave way to Josh Graziano who saved 25/30 pucks on the afternoon.

Coulee Region plays host to Janesville for the third consecutive game this Saturday night at 7pm.