Tigers to battle B-W for Middle Border title
The New Richmond boys hockey team has been the Middle Border Conference championship in every year that the conference has been in existence.
To keep that streak alive, the Tigers will need to win at Baldwin-Woodville on Thursday in the final round of MBC play for the 2007-08 season.
The Tigers kept their chances of winning this year's title alive by scoring one of their most decisive wins of the season. They went to Amery on Monday and pounded the Warriors by a 7-1 score. When the teams met in the first round of MBC play, the Tigers beat Amery in overtime.
New Richmond is looking to avenge a recent 3-2 loss to Baldwin-Woodville. The convincing win at Amery shows the Tigers may be getting hot as they head toward the home stretch of the 2007-08 season.
Tiger coach Adam Swanda said Monday's win was the first time the Tigers "got the bounces" this season. The Tigers knew Amery has a tendency toward taking penalties, so the Tigers had worked on their power play. That work paid off, with the Tigers' first two goals coming on the power play.
Senior Calvin Hanson scored the only goal of the first period. Amery scored 57 seconds into the second period, but it was the Warriors' last hurrah. The Tigers dominated the rest of the game. They buried Amery with a flurry of four goals, by Jake Bellows, Eric Wergen, Aaron Pflueger and Jared Ellevold, to lead 5-1. The Tigers added goals from Dan Shilts and Hanson late in the game.
The Tiger coaches were able to get reserve goalie Eric Schmitz into the game, for the final three minutes of the third period. Schmitz made two nice saves in his varsity debut.
The Tigers also scored a conference win last Tuesday, winning at Somerset 3-2. Ellevold scored the game winner, with 44 seconds left in regulation. The winner was a combination of nice efforts. First, defenseman Joe Hailey did a nice job of keeping the puck in the Somerset end when the Spartans tried to chip the puck out of the zone. Hailey dumped the puck back in along the boards. Pflueger then won a battle along the boards for the puck. He sent the puck to the front of the goal, where Ellevold was able to sneak it past Spartan goalie Dylan Rivard.
That goal capped a close, back-and-forth game. Bellows scored the only goal of the first two periods. Somerset tied the game early in the third period. Hanson untied the game seconds later. He led a rush into the Somerset zone, then blasted a shot past Rivard.
Last Thursday the Tigers lost by a 5-1 score when they played at Shattuck-St. Mary's. Swanda said this was a solid effort from the Tigers, before they ran out of energy against the deeper Shattuck team.
The Tigers have been dealing with illness and injuries. Shilts, one of the team's best passers and playmakers, was out of the lineup ill all of last week. Pflueger and Joe Bowar have also been battling illness. Hailey missed the Shattuck and Amery games with an injury and Zach Olson is returning to full strength from a shoulder injury.
Thursday's game at Baldwin is the start of a busy week for the Tigers. On Saturday afternoon they play at River Falls. That will be followed by a game at Hudson next Tuesday.
New Richmond 7, Amery 1
First Period: 1. NR, Calvin Hanson (Jake Bellows) pp 9:11.
Second Period: 2. Amery, Tanner Tryggestad (Jon Kohlrusch, Shane Webber) pp :57. 3. NR, Bellows (Jared Singerhouse) pp 4:58. 4. NR, Eric Wergen (un) 6:47. 5. NR, Aaron Pflueger (Zach Olson) 8:12. 6. NR, Jared Ellevold (Pflueger) 13:41.
Third Period: 7. NR, Dan Shilts (Pflueger) 11:31. 8. NR, Hanson (Pflueger) 12:56.
Saves: New Richmond (Tanner Milliron 21, Eric Schmitz 2) 23; Amery (Patrick Bergan) 32.
New Richmond 3, Somerset 2
First Period: No scoring.
Second Period: 1. NR, Jake Bellows (Joe Hailey) pp 2:56.
Third Period: 2. Somerset, Mitchell Benson (John Galbraith) 1:31. 3. NR, Calvin Hanson (Zach Kier, Joe Bowar) 2:07. 4. Somerset, Adam McMurray (Eric Schleusner, Galbraith) 14:05. 5. NR, Jared Ellevold (Aaron Pflueger) 16:16.
Saves: New Richmond (Tanner Milliron) 26; Somerset (Dylan Rivard) 21.