So close, but yet so far away. That was the scenario for the Waukesha Wings boys hockey team Saturday.
Playing in the WIAA sectional championship game Saturday night at the Naga-Waukee Ice Arena, the Wings lost a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to the Whitefish Bay Storm.
By winning, the Storm earned a berth into Thursday's state tournament at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. Whitefish Bay (22-4-1) will play against Eau Claire Memorial at 6 p.m.
Waukesha, a combined team of players from the three public schools in Waukesha along with players from Pewaukee and St. John's Northwestern Military Academy, led 1-0 early in the second period when Trent Borgardt of Pewaukee scored the game's first goal. Dominik Florian of Pewaukee and Bo Belmer of West shared the assist.
Whitefish Bay, who will be playing in the state tournament for the first time in school history, led 3-2 after the second period. Florian scored the second goal for the Wings in that period as Cody Vanthournout of St. John's picked up the assist.
The Storm stretched that lead to 4-2 with 12:09 left in the game and then had to hang on for their lives in the final three minutes.
Florian scored his second goal for the Wings with 2:38 left to play to cut the Waukesha deficit to one goal. And that set up a wild finish to the night.
Waukesha, seeded second in the sectional, pulled goalie Jake Kupsky (West) in the final moments and appeared to have tied the game with 10.5 seconds left when the puck ended up in the Whitefish Bay net. But the officials ruled that the net had been knocked off its moorings before the puck crossed the line.
The Wings hurt themselves by giving up two power-play goals to the Storm, who came into the game seeded fourth.
Kupsky made 44 saves.