The Kenosha Combined hockey team is moving onto the WIAA sectional.
In what Thunder coach J.R. Litkey termed “arguably the biggest win in Thunder history,” seventh-seeded Kenosha knocked off second-seeded Janesville 7-3 on Thursday night.
The win improves Kenosha to 13-12-1 overall and sends the Thunder to the sectional semifinal Tuesday at a site yet to be determined. Kenosha faces the winner of third-seeded Marquette or sixth-seeded Beloit in a game that will be played tonight.
Kenosha fell behind 2-0 in the first period before it cut the deficit in half on an unassisted goal by Joey Trifone.
Two second-period goals, the first by Kyle Kuhfuss off assists by Trifone and Glen Emanuelson, and the second by Nicholas Elsen put Kenosha ahead 3-2.
After Janesville knotted things back up at 3-3, the third period was all Thunder.
Kenosha scored four unanswered goals, the first by Trifone, followed by three straight by Elsen to firmly take control. Recording assists during the third-period scoring flurry were Kuhfuss, Jackson Jones, Trifone and Chase Erickson.
Thunder goalie Joseph LaForge collected 39 saves, including 22 in the second period.
“We played out of our minds all game long,” Litkey said. “Elsen and Trifone had big games tonight, and the defensive unit (including) Erickson, (Chandler) Giampetro, (Nathan) Stine and Emanuelson had a solid game.
“Joseph LaForge stood on his head tonight and head several big point-blank saves in the third (period).”
The winner in Tuesday’s semifinal advances to the sectional final Feb. 24 or 25 against either top-seeded Waukesha, fourth-seeded Whitefish Bay or fifth-seeded Kettle Moraine with a berth in the state tournament on the line.