New Richmond boys hockey stays hot, improves to 10-4
Strong third periods helped the New Richmond boys hockey team finish off wins over Menomonie and St. Paul Johnson last week.
Thursday’s game was important because Menomonie is another team in the WIAA Section 1 tournament bracket, so the Tigers couldn’t afford a letdown. The Tigers weren’t at their sharpest in the first two periods, but the Tiger power play continued to be productive. The Tiger power play produced a goal 6:34 into the game when Brady Maus scored off assists from Jeremy Leavens and Jake Singerhouse.
This year’s version of the Tigers is one of the best passing squads the Tigers have had in several years. Sharp passing produced the second Tiger goal early in the second period. Senior Tanner Wisemiller made a nice back door pass to Leavens and Leavens rammed the puck home for the goal.
The Tiger coaches reminded the team before the third period that this game was critical to the team’s hopes of getting one of the top two seeds in the sectional bracket. The Tigers responded by dominating the action, outshooting the Mustangs by a wide margin. Kole Hallmark scored three minutes into the period and Leavens scored his second goal of the night four minutes later as the Tigers kept constant pressure on the Mustangs. The Tigers finished with a 34-18 edge in shots.
St. Paul Johnson is a quality program that gave the Tigers a challenge. The Governors forced the action early, scoring the only goal of the first period. The Tigers tied the score at the 9:46 mark of the second period when Maus scored off assists from Wisemiller and Leavens.
Johnson took the lead with a power play goal at the 14:07 mark, but the Tigers answered 17 seconds later with one of their prettiest goals of the season. Wisemiller dodged a Johnson defenseman, feeding a pass to Leavens. Leavens knocked the puck out of the air, and in one motion, he pulled the puck to his forehand and tucked it past the Johnson goalie for a short-handed goal.
“It was a highlight reel goal,” said Tiger coach Adam Swanda.
That meant the game would be decided in the third period and the Tigers made sure it went their way. The Tigers outshot Johnson 14-3 in the period to finish with a 51-20 shot advantage for the game.
Johnson took a number of penalties in the third period and it played in the Tigers’ favor as New Richmond’s first two goals of the third period came on the power play. Jake Singerhouse gave the Tigers the lead 3:48 into the period. The Wisemiller brothers generated the second goal, with Maxx scoring off an assist from Tanner, his older brother. Leavens got the Tigers’ final goal with 2:04 left in the game. Tanner Wisemiller earned his fourth assist of the night on Leavens’ goal.
Swanda said the Tigers responded the right way when Johnson began taking penalties. Instead of retaliating, the Tigers put that energy into their play to completely control the action in the third period.
Juniors Adam Dilley and Cole Peterson split the goaltending work last week. Dilley got the start at Menomonie, making 18 saves to earn the shutout. Peterson was in net against Johnson stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced. Swanda said Dilley remains the Tigers’ top goalie, but said both goalies have progressed nicely this season.
The Tigers’ schedule now slows down considerably and the coaches couldn’t be happier. Swanda said he feels the team plays best when it gets a number of practices together and practices have been rare over the past month. The next game for the Tigers comes on Saturday when they face Hudson for the third time, playing at the Hudson Sports Center at 7 p.m. The Tigers will play at home next Tuesday, with WSFLG, the Burnett County co-op team, as the opponent.