New Richmond boys hockey finds its scoring touch
The drought is over.
As the New Richmond boys hockey team heads into one of its most important weeks of the season, the Tigers have some momentum. That comes after scoring 16 goals in their two games last week.
The Tigers began the goal jamboree by winning at Baldwin-Woodville 9-1 last Thursday. That was followed by a 7-3 home ice win over Menomonie on Saturday night.
The nine goals at Baldwin was a huge breakout for a team that had struggled mightily to get the puck past any goalie. The nine goals matches the goal output of the Tigers in their previous six games combined.
The Tigers were on a mission on Thursday. They scored six goals in the opening period, putting 39 shots on net. The Tigers continued to attack, generating 83 shots on goal.
"I've never seen that in my life," Tiger coach Adam Swanda of the huge shot total.
On top of the 83 shots against B-W, the Tigers put 47 shots on net in Saturday's game, giving them 130 shots for the two games.
Adding to the good news was the fact that six different Tigers scored during the B-W game. Hunter Cox, Hunter Charland and Brad Blanchard scored their first varsity goals. Austin Zywiec scored a hat trick and Tyler Lagerstrom scored twice. Michael Bodsberg added one goal.
Swanda said Zywiec began to find his old form this week. Zywiec missed nearly all of the 2012 games and appeared to be impatient in his play upon returning. Swanda said Zywiec's timing is now right where it needs to be.
Goalie Austin Dilley also saw his first varsity playing time in Thursday's game, making two saves as he played the third period. Tiger starter Aaron Chwialkowski stopped four shots in the first two periods.
The hot scoring continued on Saturday, with Lagerstrom and Cox both scoring twice in the win. Zywiec, Charland and Tanner Wisemiller also scored, with Wisemiller assisting on four goals.
The top Tiger power play unit flourished, scoring three times in six chances. The second power play unit wasn't as successful, giving up two short-handed goals.
While goals were coming at an amazing pace in these games, the Tigers were still playing disciplined hockey. They didn't take a penalty at Baldwin and they were called for two penalties against Menomonie.
Swanda said he hoped that discipline and the newly-found offensive momentum would help the Tigers in this important week. The Tigers were scheduled to play at Amery on Tuesday, at Siren on Thursday to face the WSFLG cooperative team, and at Eau Claire Regis on Saturday. Saturday's game will be played at 11:30 a.m. at Hobbs Ice Center in Eau Claire.
The Tigers will have to get through the week short-handed. Kaleb Kier and Jeremy Leavens were injured on Saturday and both could miss the week. The Tigers are also battling illness. There are several players who might not be recovered in time to play this week.