SHERIDAN — Sheridan’s Toby Jacobs earned himself a breakaway midway through the first period of the Hawks’ game against Cheyenne Friday night at the M&M’s Center.
It stood as a perfect opportunity for Sheridan to level the score and catapult them through the next two and a half periods.
But Capitals’ goaltender Kaidin Mondle made himself big and turned away Jacobs. This, however, didn’t deter the Sheridan junior but rather made him hungrier.
“That really frustrated me,” Jacobs said. “I was upset with that one, but I just put my head down and went to work and tried to redeem myself.”
And redeem he did. Jacobs netted two goals in the Hawks’ 4-1 victory, which pushed them to 13-5-1 (27 points) on the season.
Jacobs was active all over the ice Friday. He found the back of the net on multiple occasions, but head coach Kirk Viren really liked what Jacobs did to reverse momentum for Cheyenne, halt scoring chances among other things.
“It wasn’t just his offense,” Viren said. “He was the spark plug tonight, getting it going on both ends, going and chasing guys down negating their chances. Those are what create turnovers and actually puts the puck on our stick and gets it going the other way. Those things don’t show up on the score, but as a coach you love to see that.”
Jacobs’ first score occurred in the waning seconds of the opening period. He bested Mondle off a feed from Winfield Loomis, which made it a 1-1 game. Tyler Schlagel of Cheyenne opened the scoring unassisted at the 10:06 mark.
Benjamin Lavigne put Sheridan ahead with a score with 12:45 to play in the second period. He found the back of the net off a feed from Blake Billings, and Billings needed just 40 seconds to boast a goal for himself that gave the Hawks some breathing room. Jacobs capped the scoring with a third-period goal assisted on by John Billings.
Sheridan goalie Josh Eaton recorded 24 saves, while Mondle finished the contest with 46.
The victory was a long time coming for the Hawks. Their last win at home happened the first day of December, last year. That’s 70 days without a home victory.
“I think it was a big sigh of relief for these guys,” Viren said. “… It has been awhile, but I’d rather have these wins going into state.”
After another battle with the Capitals Saturday morning at 9 a.m., the Hawks will begin preparation for state. They currently sit in third place within the Wyoming Amateur Hockey League standings, two points clear of Casper, which owns a 1-0-1 record against Sheridan.
The Hawks victory Friday night positions them seven points clear of Cheyenne, which holds the fifth spot in the standings. The A state tournament encompasses the top six teams in the final standings.