Power play clicks, New Richmond boys hockey rips WSFLG
The power play is something the New Richmond boys hockey team has been intent on improving in this January stretch where the Tigers play three games in three weeks.
WSFLG, the Burnett County co-op team, visited the Tigers on Tuesday and seemed intent on stirring things up. WSFLG drew several penalties and the Tigers were a perfect 4-4 on the power play as they snowed under the Blizzard 9-3 at the New Richmond Sports Center.
New Richmond’s line of Tanner Wisemiller, Jeremy Leavens and Brady Maus had a big game, generating five of the team’s goals. Leavens scored 49 seconds into the game and Maus scored later in the first period. WSFLG matched both those goals, leaving the score 2-2 entering the second period.
Both WSFLG goals in the first period were the result of Tigers failing to tie up WSFLG players around the net. Tiger coach Adam Swanda said the players have gotten into the habit of trying to reach in with a stick to tie up an opponent, rather than using their body to tie them up.
“We’re not as hard to the puck as we were early in the year,” Swanda said.
Jake Singerhouse scored early in the second period for the Tigers, but WSFLG responded by scoring 30 seconds later. Soon, the WSFLG penalties, including a five-minute major, opened the door for the Tigers. Wisemiller and Eric Hedlund scored in the second period. With one second left in the period, Leavens scored his second goal to deflate any hopes WSFLG still had.
Leavens’ power play goal came as the Tigers hurried to mount one more assault before the buzzer. Wisemiller fired a shot, and Leavens swatted the airborne puck into the Blizzard net.
Wisemiller and Leavens continue to be the Tigers’ leading scorers. Wisemiller logged one goal and four assists in this game, raising his season point total to 33. Leavens leads the team with 15 goals and he is second in points with 26.
Three more power play goals were notched by the Tigers in the third period, with Maus, Stuart Pearson and Nick Lubow doing the honors.
Getting goals from Hedlund and Pearson is a sign that the Tigers are getting more contributions from their third line. Another player making more of a contribution is sophomore Hunter Charland. He played forward until being moved back to defense, his original position, three weeks ago. With Charland on the blue line the Tigers are able to run a five-defenseman rotation.
Charland is filling the role that Singerhouse held the last two years as a player who can be used at either defense or forward at any time during a game. Singerhouse has played forward primarily this season, but you’ll still see him at the point on the Tiger power play and on defense killing penalties.
Swanda said he likes having the flexibility of having players who can handle dual roles on the team. He said it takes players with hockey smarts to handle the responsibility he puts on them in this situation.
The Tigers, 11-5 after this win, get another weekend off. They don’t play again until next Tuesday, when they play at 5 p.m. at Eau Claire’s Hobbs Arena against the Regis-McDonell Saints.