Not once, but twice
Hodag boys hockey defeats Eagle River for second time this season
Star Journal Report
Dec. 3, 2020, marked the first time in almost 30 years the Hodags defeated the Northland Pines Eagles in hockey. The semi-finals of the conference tournament had the Hodags making a return trip to the number one seed team from Eagle River. Very few teams are able to put up two wins against the Eagles in a season, but the Hodags can now be added to that short list following a 5-2 victory at the historic Eagle River Dome.
Rhinelander moves on to the conference final to face Mosinee at the Marathon County Ice rink.
Unlike the last meeting, the Hodags never trailed in this one as at the end of the first period the score was 1-0 on a Joe Schneider goal with 3:31 remaining in the period. In the second period Rhinelander scored at the 10:21 mark but 20 seconds later Pines would score to cut the lead to 2-1 on a powerplay goal. The second period would end with the Hodags holding on to the one goal advantage.
The third period was full of action as Cal Laggis scored his first of two goals in the period with 15:23 remaining to make the score 3-1. Jake Losch would score at the 8:48 mark and then Laggis would complete the Rhinelander scoring with the scoreboard showing 5:45 left.
With 4:17 left in the game Losch picked up a major and minor penalty for a total of 7minutes in the box to leave the Hodags playing 4-on-5 and 4-on-6 when Pines pulled their goalie. The Eagles took advantage and scored 10 seconds into the penalty but that would be it as the Hodags withstood a barrage of pressure and would clear the puck out of the zone numerous times. According to the Pines stats, goalie Garrett Kulhanek saved 14 of the 16 shots on goal while Pines goalie Mitch McCanles also had 14 saves, but on 19 Hodag shots on goal.
PHOTOS BY BOB MAINHARDT