It’s been what seems like a slow season for the Coulee Region Chill thus far. A month and a half in they’ve hit the ice only five times, four of which were on the road. Home fans weren’t able to catch a glimpse of head coach Jon Vaillancourt’s new 2018-19 squad for the first time until this last Saturday night. Little did they know they were in for a great show.
Wind it back to Friday night first. In preparation for their first home game of the season, Vaillancourt and company went North for their first game against in-division opponent, the Wausau RiverWolves.
Both teams were getting ice time for just the fourth time on the young season. The Chill, however, weren’t showing any rust. Thomas Magnavite, a returning forward from last year’s La Crosse Freeze Central Division championship team, suited up for his first game of the season. In the first 20 minutes he scored a hat trick thanks to helpers from Laudon Poellinger, Brady Lindauer (2), Keaton Caplis and Flavien Fondadouze. Two of his three goals were short handed, too. Poellinger, with assists from Lindauer and Connor Losen, scored as well to give the Chill a 4-0 lead into the 2nd period.
14 seconds into the middle frame Brandon Ratzloff made it 5-0 on Coulee’s fourth power play of the game. Wausau eliminated any chance for a shutout shortly thereafter but Brody Boyce made up for it with his first goal on the season prior to the 3rd period.
The 3rd was all Chill, goals coming from Fondadouze, Lindauer (2) and Poellinger and assists from Losen, Caplis, Magnavite (2), Poellinger (2), Toon De Scheper, and Blake Holmes. Gunnar Snyder made his first start of the season and held his own, giving up just the one goal on 19 total shots.
The home opener on Saturday night brought in the Central Division leading Milwaukee Power, a team that had just one loss to their name. That didn’t mean anything to Coulee Region and their home crowd, though.
Over the course of three periods the Chill scored 11 goals with five in the 1st period, two in the 2nd and four in the 3rd. Magnavite didn’t slow down from the night before, adding to his hot start with his second consecutive hat trick. Holmes (2), Fondadouze (2), Poellinger, Lindauer, T. De Schepper, and George Nuutinen all accompanied Magnavite in the box score.
Devin Naidow got the call in net and won his second game of the season, holding the Power to three goals on 30 shots.
Upcoming is another off weekend for the Chill while they prepare for a home-and-home series October 26th and 27th against New Ulm.