One of the oldest sports adages around is a tie is like kissing your sister.
For the Baldwin-Woodville boys hockey team, last month’s game against Superior ended up in a 4-4 tie, but for the Blackhawks, what they took from that game was way more than a tie.
When it relates to high school programs and their histories, Superior might be at the top of the list in Wisconsin.
The Spartans have the most appearance in the State Hockey Tournament (37), Championships (13) and are the only school to win three State Championships in a row.
Superior grabbed a one goal lead in both the second and third periods, and both times, B-W responded and eventually forced the game to overtime.
“It was a big turning point,” said assistant coach Mike Olson. “It was an emotional game against a storied program. We played a pretty quality game against them.”
Since that game, the Blackhawks have won seven of their last 10 games, heading into their last two games of the season, at Providence Academy (which was played last night) and the regular season finale against Henry Sibley Saturday.
The winning play has led to B-W a number one seed in the upcoming sectional of the WIAA Division 2 playoffs. B-W hosts Regis/Altoona/McDonnell 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 20 at the United Civic Center.
“It’s really exciting,” said senior co-captain Jake Roussopoulos. “It’s the first time Baldwin-Woodville has had a number one seed, so it’s proud to be a part of something like that.”
Added fellow senior co-captain Zac Holme: “Our whole season has been building up to the playoffs.”
As a result of the season so far, second-year head coach Lucas Trickle was named Section Coach of the Year.
“This group has brought it every single night,” Trickle said. “They play like a team.”
Chimed Holme: “He’s done a great job in bringing the team together.”
Olson believes the strength of schedule has had a lot to do with the Blackhawks’ season so far.
“We needed adversity, we wanted tougher quality games to prepare us for the year,” he said.
After a season-opening tie against Marshfield, the Blackhawks traveled over to the Green Bay area to face Bay Port and DePere, two Division 1 schools. B-W was outscored 14-1 in those two games.
“After the Green Bay trip, they needed to buy in and play for each other,” Olson said.
Since then, the Blackhawks have only been shutout once in 19 games and four of their remaining six losses were by two goals or less.
“Everyone enjoys each other and gets along really well,” Holme said. “The atmosphere has been really great this year.”
And if the Blackhawks face adversity in the playoffs, Olson likes his chances.
“We’ve already been in seven overtime games this year,” he said. “Those guys have been there.”
Added Roussopoulous: “Everyone’s got to play their best at playoffs and get ready for it.”