By Bruce Karnick [email protected] The Raider boys hockey team had a rough start to the season at 1-3. The most recent two games being an overtime loss at Holy Family and the rematch against St. …
By Bruce Karnick
The Raider boys hockey team had a rough start to the season at 1-3. The most recent two games being an overtime loss at Holy Family and the rematch against St. Thomas Academy (STA) going the way of the Cadets paved the way for a much needed win for the Raiders. Thursday, January 28th, the boys travelled to New Prague to take on the Trojans looking for a big win.
6:51 in to the first period, Hastings found the back on the net first. Jax Schauer assisted by Connor Stoffel. The first penalty of the game sent New Prague’s Ryan Brinkhouse to the clink to sit for 2:00 for tripping. The period ended with two quick penalties to Hastings, Jonathan Peine went to the box at the 14:46 mark for roughing and just over a minute later, Joe Benson joined Peine for roughing. That gave the Trojans 52 second of five on three hockey.
Head Coach Adam Welch broke down what they are looking for in a five on three penalty kill. “Unfortunately, it’s been the second time this year having to kill five on three. We did a little better job of killing it off. Basically, the biggest thing with five on three is making sure that we are blocking shots and taking away passing lanes across the ice and try and keep everything to the outside. I thought we did a little bit better job of that and then obviously, you know, in five on three situations, your goal has got to be your best only killer.
The second period started with the Raiders leading 1-0 but the Trojans changed that quickly. 46 seconds in, Will Andersen tied the game at one. 37 seconds later, the Raiders regained the lead when Schauer found Peine open and Peine buried it. At 2:12, Collin Stewart went to the box for interference and six seconds in to the powerplay, Jack Wilmes put the puck past Raider goalie Tyler McCarville. It seemed there would be more action in the first five minutes of the second period than at a WWE pay-per-view and sure enough, at the 4:12 mark, exactly two minutes after his first penalty, Stewart went back to the box again for interference. Thankfully, the Raiders slowed things down and stopped this powerplay. Just after the halfway point of the period, Jager Kendall took a pass from Matt Zaruba and made the game 3-2 in favor of the Raiders.
At the second intermission, Coach Welch had a few reminders for the boys. “I thought we were playing really well. I thought we were playing a lot of pace, and speed, and I thought our forwards and defense, it’s the best we have looked in the offensive zone where everybody was playing together. We weren’t trying to beat guys, one on one. We’re all working together, and that’s what was leading to a bunch of opportunities. We just talked to them about continuing to play that way, and I knew we were we were getting quite a few chances. So, I knew if we just continued to do what we were doing that we’d be able to put some more away. Then we talked to them about penalties too, being smart and staying out of the box the best that we can.
Heading into the third period, fans were left wondering, “will the craziness continue?” The short answer? Yes. Until this point in the game, six penalties had been called all game. The average of the Raiders previous five games was four penalties per game total. This one seemed to get out of hand in the third. Five more penalties would be called, bringing the game total to 11!
Hastings extended their lead when Schauer scored his second goal of the game with the help of Peine and Stoffel at the 4:05 mark. 5:57 in to the third period, Stewart would once again be called for interference and for the second time, New Prague scored a power play goal, this time off the stick of Will Seymour.
With Hastings in the lead 4-3, New Prague’s Brinkhouse sat for 2:00 for slashing and that opened the door for Schauer to nab the hat trick assisted by Stoffel and Jake Harris. Brinkhouse went to the clink one more time in the third, but he was accompanied by Hastings’ Jack Nicklay, both for roughing. Then with 1:41 left in the game, Kendall was cited for roughing. This gave the Trojans a six on four advantage when they pulled Carter Puente out of the net trying to mount the comeback. With 13 seconds left in the game, Harris fed Schauer one last time and Jax hit the empty net backbreaker. Schauer finished the game with foul of the six raider goals.
When asked about the number of penalties, Coach Welch took it in stride, “I think it was just kind of one of those games. It wasn’t necessarily one thing. It was just one of those games that we unfortunately maybe got caught in some bad situations and took penalties. And but you know, sometimes games go that way, and so you just got to do your best to kill them off.”
Tyle McCarville faced 27 shots, stopping 23 for a save percent of .899. Carter Puente faced 42 and stopped 37 for a .881 save percentage. Hastings served 14 minutes on seven penalties and New Prague went to box four times for eight minutes. Both teams were 33.3% on power plays. Hastings scoring on one of three and New Prague scoring on two of six.
When asked about Stewarts three interference penalties, Coach Welch looked at it as a learning opportunity for his junior defenseman.
“You know, it’s one of those ones where you he’s just battling, I’m not mad that he calls it, it’s one that he could call, but as the game goes on, he just needs to be a little smarter and recognize some situations. Maybe the ref is looking at him a little closer here with him having a couple of penalties. So, you know, again, it’s just a learning experience for him,” Welch said.
With the win, the Raiders move to 2-3 on the season overall, but stay in sixth place in the Metro East Conference at 1-2.
The team is looking forward to getting back into conference action against Simley next Coach Welch explained.
“We always play tough with them. It doesn’t matter what kind of team we have, or they have our games are always close games. And so, they’re a fun team to compete against. Even last year, you know, we had one of our better teams in a long time. I think they were beating us in the third period, so we had to come from behind to win. We’re excited for our kids; we’ve got to come in and play the right way in order to have a chance to win. So, they’re just a fun team to play, it’s also exciting with them being just down the road from us.”
When asked about St. Paul Highland Park, he chuckled.
“I actually I don’t know anything about them. I haven’t even looked at them at all, or who they have played or anything? So, I don’t really know anything.”
He also pointed out that they will play them twice in a five day span after laughing about not having any idea if the two teams have ever met.
Hastings travels to Simley Thursday, February Fourth at 7:00 p.m. and the hosts St. Paul Highland Park on Saturday the Sixth at 3:30 p.m.