A Story Book September

Oct 6, 2018

The Milwaukee Power have been on an incredible journey this past month, one that I can say has been a true pleasure to watch and be a part of and I'd like to share what I have seen this past month from the Press Box.

This is my fourth season of being involved in the NA3HL and I had seen all four teams the Power played in September in the past two seasons. By no means was it going to be an easy schedule for Milwaukee. 

Opening Night
The Power opened against the Peoria Mustangs, a team that seemed locked for the playoffs every season. The Mustangs didn't waste anytime and scored the first goal of the game before the end of the first minute in the 1st period. A tough pill to swallow for the Power from the players, the coaching staff, and the business staff that had been working for months to make this night a reality.

Peoria added another in the 2nd period before Ben Beversdorf scored the first NA3HL goal in team history to bring the Power within one. It didn't last as Peoria scored with under two minutes to go in the period for a two-goal lead heading into the 3rd.

They say two-goal leads are the worst in hockey and maybe they are on to something because the Power offense came alive in the 3rd. Maris Graudins and Ben Beversdorf had goals just less then 30-seconds apart within the first three-minutes of the period to tie the game. You couldn't write this in Hollywood if you had tried. Halfway through the period Mason Evans, the only returning Point Mallard Duck on the roster, put the puck on net from a tight angle and got the bounce of a life time as it found its way across the goal line between the goalies pads, which gave the Power the lead. 

The game wasn't over yet as in the last three-minutes the Power had to go on the penalty kill. In what may have been the defining moment of September, the guys came together and played as a team for each other and killed off the penalty and ran out the clock to finish off the comeback win. This was the start for Aaron Dickstein to show how he could bounce back after a few goals as he was lights out in the 3rd period and didn't allow a goal in the 3rd all month long.

With the victory came celebration and joy to the point of tears as the Power had done what might have been considered unthinkable. Going from 12 players at the start of training camp to 16 for opening night and then shocking the Mustangs.

Game 2
The opener was done and over as the Power had to face Peoria for the second night. I'm not sure in anyones wildest dreams did they think that the Power would come out and win 6-3 over Peoria to stay perfect on opening weekend. 

Even watching and calling the game myself I couldn't believe what I was seeing as the Power led the game from halfway in the 2nd to the end. Caleb Beversdorf, Maris Graudins (2), Mason Evans, Ben Beversdorf, and Jake Berry all tallied goals in the contest.

Ben Beversdorf was named as the Central Division Star of the Week with his three goals and one assist for a total of four points.

Coulee Comes to Town
It seemed like a dream to be 2-0 heading into week two but the Power couldn't rest on what happened the previous weekend as they had to face the Coulee Region Chill, the team that had knocked the North Iowa Bulls out of the playoffs this past March. Having seen them play Peoria the previous fall I knew they would be a tough team to beat.

The 1st period was scoreless but the Chill would take a one-goal lead in the 2nd while on the power play. The Power offense turned it on in the 3rd with three unanswered goals as Hunter Larsen, Chuck Bay, and Maris Graudins found twine making a statement that Milwaukee wouldn't lay down to anyone.

The Whalers Take a Shot
Yet another playoff team from the year before was coming to Milwaukee looking to grab a win in their season opener. The Whalers would score halfway through the 1st period and would finish the period without letting the Power score.

The Power responded in with four unanswered goals, three of them coming in the 2nd and one of them in the 3rd. Maris Graudins, Ryan Payne, Logan Geisness, and Mason Evans had given the Power offense the surge it needed to put their fourth win in the bag. It was Aaron Dicksteins second one goal allowed game and his fourth win of the season.

The Blizzard Role In
It felt like with every new opponent the challenge ahead of this young men was going to be tougher then the last. Alexandria was no different when it came to the task at hand in order for the Power to stay unbeaten. Austin Keiser did the film pre-scout on the Blizzard and made sure the boys gave it everything. 

They certainly did as the Power pounced scoring three unanswered goals in the 1st period, from Maris Graudins, Logan Geisness, and Ethans Dabbs, before the Blizzard cracked the scoresheet with less then a minute to go. The Power would add two more in the 2nd from Chuck Bay and Logan Geisness but Alexandria added two as well. The 3rd period was scoreless as the Power won 5-3.

The weekend wasn't over as the Blizzard would get a second shot to hand the Power their first loss. Both sides failed to score in the 1st and the Blizzard broke the tie scoring in the 2nd. The Power were looking for a spark in the 3rd and it came from the Captain Jake Berry as he fought to get the puck back after he turned it over, the play would result in a Chuck Bay goal to tie the game. Berry wasn't done and he sniped the top right corner on the rush to take the lead and Caleb Beversdorf added an insurance goal on the power play to make the final score 3-1. Aaron Dickstein was now 6-0 and had three games where he allowed only one goal.

Coulee Round 2
The Chill were coming back to Milwaukee looking to stop the Power streak at six wins. I think this was the most nervous I had been since game one as I prepared to call the closest game so far. 

The 1st was scoreless but the Power struck first in the 2nd with a Logan Geisness goal. The Chill would score on the power play late in the period to tie the game. The 3rd period wasn't going to be easy for either side. As the half way point was approaching Ivan Bilyy would light the lamp for the Power with his first NA3 goal. Bilyy had started the game on defense but that plan changed back in the 1st period as he was put back on his original line. There was still a lot of time left on the clock as the intensity and drama kept building. Aaron Dickstein had owned the 3rd period for six straight games not allowing a single goal. He continued that on this night making save after save to give the Power the 2-1 win putting them to 7-0.

Dickstein was named the Central Division Star of the week and it was the second time a Power had claimed the honor. He would also be the first to claim the NA3HL Goaltender of the Month award as he leads all goalies with 7 wins.

Looking Back
The Power have weathered the storm of September by knocking off four playoff teams from last season. A feat I'm not so sure anyone had thought possible, it is one thing to go into every game believing you will win but its completely different to go out and do it. Happy tears were shed and celebrations were had as the Power had finally arrived and showed what they were made off. It's hard to believe that looking back that the Power had only 14 players as of September 1st vs 19 on October 1st. 

With new additions to the roster and more on the way the Power are just getting started but they have laid down a great foundation to build upon moving forward. September is in the past now though as the Power look ahead to October. 

To October
Its the first road trip of the season as the team heads to Breezy Point, MN to take on the North Stars. Playing on the road is a completely different test for this team to face but I believe they are ready for it as they have been tested and prepared and come out triumphant seven times already this year. 

After the Breezy Point trip the Power will face the Wausau River Wolves for the first time and then Coulee again before finishing against Wausau. I can't wait to see what this team does the rest of this season and I hope you can't either. 

-Gordon Cepuran