New Richmond boys hockey has made an enemy in Eau Claire Regis
The New Richmond boys hockey team won’t forget Saturday’s game against the Eau Claire Regis co-op team.
Regis needed the win to keep its hopes alive of sharing the Middle Border Conference championship with the Tigers. Regis won the game 5-4, but the Saints made no fans on the Tiger team with the way they played the game.
Tiger coach Adam Swanda was seething after the game, after his goalie was knocked out of the game after being hit at the same time by two Saints players. The Tigers were leading 2-0 at the time, but the injury to goalie Adam Dilley completly changed the game.
Dilley tried to continue playing, but gave up goals on three of the next four Regis shots before pulling himself out of the game.
“I won’t ever forget it,” Swanda said about Regis’ tactics in the game. “They played really chippy and really hard. It’s not the way the game is being played any longer.”
With the emphasis on preventing head contact in hockey this season, coaches around the area have worked to prevent concussions through head contact. Swanda said the Dilley injury was the final straw.
“In my opinion, that was the third contact to the head of our players in the first period,” Swanda said. “I’m not going to play that way to try to win a conference title. The bottom line is you don’t run (into) a goaltender in late January or February. It’s literally a blatant attempt to injure a player.”
The Tigers opened the game with two goals in the first 6:35 of action. Jake Singerhouse opened the scoring 2:36 into the action and defenseman Ben Werner scored four minutes later. Regis got its first goal with 2:30 left in the first period.
Senior Jeremy Leavens scored 1:26 into the second period, the only damage the Tigers could do during a five-minute power play. Regis then scored three straight goals before Dilley pulled himself out of the game. Late in the second period, Singerhouse scored again, tying the score at 4-4.
Regis scored the game winner with 1:45 left in regulation on a power play. The Saints had two players stationed in front of Tiger goalie Cole Peterson, screening his view of the shot from the point.
The loss came two nights after the Tigers played one of their finest games, blasting Somerset 8-1.
While it might look like offense decided the game for the Tigers, it was actually their defensive effort that was the key to the win. The Tigers made it nearly impossible for the Spartans to get the puck out of their defensive zone. The Tigers had a 10-1 edge in shots when senior Cole Hanson scored the opening goal six minutes into the action. That goal was an example of the third line’s increasing contributions for the Tigers.
Leavens scored the only goal of the second period. He got the puck along the far boards, skating in to tuck the puck in along the post.
With a 2-0 score heading into the third period, nobody could have foreseen the offensive fireworks that were going to erupt in the third period. Tanner Wisemiller scored 87 seconds into the period and it seemed to drain all of Somerset’s passion. Nick Lubow and Maxx Wisemiller followed with goals. In the last five minutes of the game Tanner Wisemiller scored once and Leavens scored twice, completing his hat trick.
Swanda said the Tigers’ defensive game plan was executed to perfection.
“We had a good idea of what they were going to do with the puck. We wanted to nullify what they’re good at or what they were trying to do,” he said.
Thursday’s game began with the dedication of a dasher board to Jim Wisemiller, who spent more than 30 years as one of New Richmond hockey’s biggest supporters. Wisemiller passed away on Jan. 8. The dasher board reads: “In memory of Jim Wisemiller, Proud Tiger Hockey Fan.” This game was chosen for the dedication because three of his grandsons were playing in the game: New Richmond’s Tanner and Maxx Wisemiller and Somerset’s Reid Baillargeon.
The WIAA tournament seeding will be done this Sunday, with the Tigers currently having the inside track for the second seed in the sectional tournament bracket. The Tigers need to get wins against two Big Rivers Conference teams this week to assure themselves of that seed. The Tigers will play at Rice Lake on Thursday, followed by a game at River Falls on Saturday.