BOYS HOCKEY: Hodags fall to Thunderbirds, 6-3
RHS winning streak ends at 5 games
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
After being tied late in the second period Thursday night, the Rhinelander High School varsity boys hockey team gave up two goals in less than 2 minutes before allowing two more goals in the third period and ending up losing its Great Northern Conference home game to Lakeland Union High School, 6-3.
“We had a lot of chances in the first 17 minutes that we just didn’t convert on,” said RHS head coach MJ Laggis. “We had two or three missed shots on great scoring opportunities early on, and in big games those are the chances you need to convert on, if you don’t they come back at you.”
LUHS tallied the only first-period goal 5:09 after the opening faceoff when Max Toijala scored assisted by Kyle Schaub.
The Hodags took the lead in the second period on a pair of power-play goals. After Harlan Wojtusik scored the equalizer assisted by Brandon Kolasa and Conor Pequet at 1:36, Cole Spaulding gave them the lead at 7:30 when he scored assisted by Hunter Hicks.
However, the Thunderbirds tied the game 13 seconds later when Toijala scored again assisted by Schaub and Bret Benson. LUHS regained the lead with 2:26 left in the second period with an even-strength goal from Bryce Gilbertson assisted by Tyler Carroll and then tallied a power-play goal in period’s final minute when Benson scored assisted by Caleb Menzia and Toijala.
The Thunderbirds remained in front 4-2 until just over 5 minutes remained in the third period when RHS scored an even-strength goal from Bridger Flory assisted by Abe Laggis and Freddy Wisner.
The Hodags had an opportunity to tie the game on the power play after LUHS’s Josh Sennett was called for hooking with 4:01 to play. However, the Thunderbirds tallied a shorthanded goal when Benson scored unassisted with 2:46 left in the game. Benson then added an empty-net goal with 1:37 to play to close out the scoring and complete a hat trick.
“We outshot Lakeland on the night 43-24, which is pretty substantial, but we were unable to keep the puck out of our net, and unable to convert enough on the other end,” MJ Laggis said.
Nathan Pitek stopped 40 shots to record the win in net for the Thunderbirds. Seth Stafford made 19 saves in picking up the loss in goal for RHS.
The Hodags, who saw their winning streak end at five games, dropped to 6-5 in the GNC and 12-8 overall. RHS returns to action Saturday night with a home conference game against Waupaca.
LUHS 6, RHS 3
LUHS 1 3 2 – 6
RHS 0 2 1 – 3