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Five-minute stretch dooms Cheese vs. Oregon
Monroes Seth Lindsay looks to make a run on offense against Oregon in a Badger South game Tuesday. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)
MONROE - It's a scene Monroe freshman forward Cade Janecke has seen play out many times this year.

The Monroe boys hockey co-op team played toe-to-toe with Oregon, which is second-place in the Badger South Conference, for most of the first two periods Tuesday. It all unraveled late in the second period as the Panthers scored three goals in 2 minutes, 53 seconds to spark a 5-0 win over the Cheesemakers at SLICE Arena.

"I think we were just out of gas," said Janecke, of Orangeville, who leads the team with seven goals and five assists. "Every game it's just 5 minutes that kills us. I think we need to fix that."

Oregon senior Tristan Hughes had two goals in the win. Monroe (3-12, 1-6 Badger South) trailed the Panthers 1-0 until late in the second period. Oregon (13-3, 7-1 Badger South) scored four goals in the final 5 minutes of the second period.

Hughes scored his first goal at the 12-minute mark in the second to give Oregon a 2-0 lead. Monroe sophomore Travis Edmunds had been called for a high stick penalty and the Panthers responded by scoring two power-play goals with the Cheesemakers playing short-handed. Oregon's Andy Ziomek scored a power-play goal on an assist from Laszlo Orosz at 14:07. It was just 1 minute, 26 seconds later and Hughes scored his second goal on a power play on assist by Carson Timberlake and Matthew Strassman to give the Panthers a commanding 4-0 lead.

"The power plays for Oregon helped," Monroe coach Josh Smith said. "Their momentum was because we let them skate with the puck. We were reaching and not putting a body on them. That was the problem. We let down for 5 minutes and that is when they got those goals."

It was a big improvement for the Cheesemakers compared to the first time when they played Oregon and lost 11-1.

"We are starting to get the X's and O's," Smith said. "It's the mental game. When we get a lead we have a lot of energy and play well. It's our confidence and mental game that will put us over the hump."

Monroe was 0-for-3 trying to capitalize on power play opportunities and outshot the Panthers 9-8 in the first period. The Panthers had two penalties in the second period and despite playing with a one-man advantage and a two-man advantage for a portion of a 2-minute penalty, the Cheesemakers failed to convert.

"When they give you an opportunity you have to finish it," Smith said. "I would prefer to have a solid 5-on-5 team than to worry about the power play and penalty kill as much. Those were not the only problems. We didn't have a stick on the ice as much as we wanted to when we were in front of the net. There could have been things we were doing more when we were even strength."

Janecke understands the Cheesemakers could have changed the complexion of the game if they would have scored on one of the two power plays in the second.

"I think we definitely could have converted on those power-play opportunities," Janecke said. "We didn't get it up in the zone very well. They just played it up and shot it right back down. We just have to stay in the systems we run, do what the coaches tell us and work hard when the puck is loose."

Monroe sophomore goaltender Heath Bear had a game-high 22 saves. The Panthers outshot the Cheesemakers 27-17. Strassman finished with two assists for the Panthers.

Despite being a young team with some talented players, Janecke has high expectations for the rest of the season.

"I think we are capable of winning a few more games," Janecke said. "We just need to get better all-around as a team and have chemistry."