Dove overpowers Old Abes
Eau Claire Memorial's nickname is the Old Abes, named after a bald eagle. On Saturday night, a Dove overpowered the team named after America's symbol.
Kyle Dove scored twice in leading New Richmond's boys hockey team to a 3-0 win over Eau Claire Memorial.
New Richmond's boys are now in the meat of their schedule. On Thursday the Tigers play at Baldwin-Woodville, one of the Middle Border Conference opponents that best challenged the Tigers in the opening round of the season.
On Saturday the Tigers get their second chance at Hudson. When the two teams met in a clash of state-ranked teams on Jan. 25, Hudson pounded the Tigers 5-1. The Tigers play this Saturday in Hudson.
This game carries extra weight because the WIAA sectional seeding meeting is scheduled for Sunday. New Richmond and Hudson are likely going to be the top two seeds in the sectional. Saturday's game will be the final chance for both teams to state their cases for being the number one seed.
The win over Eau Claire last Saturday should assure the Tigers of one of the top two seeds. It now looks as if Memorial and Menomonie will be battling for the third and fourth seeds in the seeding meeting.
Tiger coach Adam Swanda wasn't overly enthused with the team's performance against Memorial. The one period where the Tigers did stand out was the second period, when they outshot the Old Abes 19-5.
"We were buzzing," Swanda said about the second period play.
The Tigers spent eight minutes of the third period killing penalties. That lack of discipline in taking penalties bothered Swanda.
For the game the Tigers had a 35-22 advantage in shots. Swanda said you might not see the huge shot totals the Tigers have been ringing up earlier in the season.
"The style we're going to won't result in as many shots, but we're hoping to tire teams out," Swanda said.
Two players who were singled out for their efforts in the game were Dove and goalie Matt Page. Swanda said he wasn't satisfied with Dove's play against Hudson. Dove responded with a strong week of practice, leading to the two goals on Saturday.
Both of Dove's goals, and the goal by Josh Calleja, were made with pinpoint accuracy. All three shots beat Old Abe goalie Ben Ziemann to the upper corner of the net on his glove side. Dove's second goal, with 20 seconds left in the game, came off a faceoff win by Danny Wells.
Page's 22 saves included several tough saves in the final minutes of the game.
"Bubba (Page) earned that shutout," Swanda said.
Though this was a big win (Memorial was the top honorable mention team in the state rankings last week), Swanda is looking for more out of the Tigers.
"We're not rising to the occasion right now," Swanda said. "We're not where I want us to be."
New Richmond 3, Eau Claire Memorial 0
First Period: 1. NR, Kyle Dove (Dan Wells, Luke Jensen) 2:49.
Second Period: 2. NR, Josh Calleja (un) 14:01.
Third Period: 3. NR, Dove (Wells) sh 14:40.
Saves: New Richmond (Matt Page) 22; Eau Claire Memorial (Ben Ziemann) 32.