Superior? New Richmond boys hockey team is this time
New Richmond hockey players and fans have made many disheartened trips home from Superior after frustrating losses to the Spartans through the years.
So when the Tigers defeated Superior 3-2 on Saturday and gave the Spartans the chance to beat themselves up on the three-hour road trip, the Tigers didn’t feel a bit of remorse about it. For the young Tiger squad, this win showed what the team’s capabilities are. Tiger coach Adam Swanda has tried to teach “Tiger Toughness” to the team this season and this win showed that that philosophy is starting to take root.
“There’s a difference between strength and toughness,” Swanda said, saying that strength is a product of weight room efforts. “Tough is more intangibles, more of a mindset. We played tough, we played hard to the puck.”
The Tigers were fully aware of the team’s history with Superior and that Superior almost always receives the top seed in the WIAA tournament bracket for this area. Swanda said he was impressed with how the Tigers rose to the occasion, especially in the defensive end of the rink. The Tigers outshot Superior, preventing the Spartans from getting many quality scoring opportunities around the net.
When Superior did get scoring opportunities, Tiger goalie Adam Dilley was ready. Dilley did an excellent job of steering rebounds to the corners so Superior couldn’t get any second shots.
Superior scored the opening goal of the game, but the Tigers matched it quickly, on a nice individual effort from senior Tanner Wisemiller. He poked the puck off the stick of a Superior skater at the Spartan blue line. Wisemiller took one stride then fired a shot that beat Spartan goalie Paxton Paine.
“When we’re in the scoring area, we want shots. It was the right hockey decision,” Swanda said of Wisemiller’s quick shot.
The Tigers took a 2-1 lead early in the second period on a wild sequence. New Richmond’s Tyler Peterson and Kole Hallmark hit posts with shots. The puck then bounced to Jake Singerhouse and he didn’t miss, blasting the puck past Paine.
Superior came back to tie the score five minutes later, sending the game into the third period tied 2-2.
The only goal of the third period was produced by Tiger sophomore Brady Maus with 9:43 left in the period. Maus carried the puck down the right side, before putting a shot on goal. It wasn’t a hard shot, but Paine couldn’t handle the shot, and it trickled between his pads into the goal.
The Tigers smelled a win and Superior wasn’t able to crack the Tiger defense for many good scoring chances in the final minutes.
“We controlled the play for most of the third period,” Swanda said.
The first two Tiger goals in last Tuesday’s 6-2 win were the result of excellent individual efforts, though the players making the plays weren’t the goal scorers. The Tigers’ first goal was the result of an exceptional effort by Maus, who won a race with a Hayward defenseman for the puck. Maus was stopped on the breakaway, but Jeremy Leavens hustled to be in position to slap the rebound home.
The second goal was created by Kole Hallmark, who carried the puck into the zone. He skated parallel to the blue line, causing the Hayward defense to shift with him. The puck was knocked away from Hallmark, but right to Ben Werner, who snapped a quick shot into the net before the Hurricanes could adjust.
Hayward came back to tie the game at 2-2 when the Tigers made some defensive mistakes. The Tigers retook the lead with 2:36 left in the period. Nick Lubow broke the tie, banging home the rebound off a shot from Jake Singerhouse on the power play.
The Tigers scored another power play goal 1:34 into the final period. Leavens scored again, off assists from Jacob Miller and Tanner Wisemiller.
Defenseman Maxx Wisemiller scored later in the third period, as did Hallmark. Swanda said fans shouldn’t be surprised to see defensemen scoring this season, because the team doesn’t have many proven goal scorers.
“We’re not as systemized or as conservative as I’ve coached in the past,” Swanda said. “Maxx and Ben did what we needed, jumping in and being part of the attack. When we have the puck, everybody is trying to be part of the play.”
The Tigers now jump into Middle Border Conference play, with three MBC games in a six-day span. That cluster of games starts Thursday when the Tigers skate at Baldwin-Woodville. On Saturday the Tigers will play in Somerset. The Tigers will skate at home next Tuesday, with Amery as the opponent.