Tigers benefit from playing Shattuck
A 6-3 loss that's better than a 6-3 win?
That's the impression you'd get from listening to New Richmond boys hockey coach Adam Swanda following the Tigers' two games last week.
Last Thursday the Tigers were visited by Shattuck-St. Mary's, a private school in Minnesota that is really a hockey finishing school that plays 60 games a season. Shattuck had already played 26 games this season when they arrived here Thursday. This was high-intensity hockey, the kind of test the Tigers were looking for. And though the Tigers were beaten 6-3, this game had definite benefits.
That led into Saturday's road trip to Medford. The Tigers struggled to find the intensity they'd produced in Thursday's game. Medford came back and tied the game 3-3 with 2:11 left in regulation. The Tigers then turned up their play, scoring three times in the final two minutes of the game to win 6-3.
Tiger coach Adam Swanda said the Shattuck game was just what the Tigers needed in several regards. Last season the Tigers only trailed in one game before losing in sectionals. He said facing that kind of adversity is something the team needs to grow.
The Tigers had several strong stretches during the game. Shattuck scored the opening goal, but the Tigers came back to tie the score when Jon Sicsik took a long lead pass from Justin Elmer and scored a short-handed goal with 5:16 left in the first period.
That goal gave the Tigers a huge boost of momentum and for the rest of the period they flew around the rink, creating several more quality scoring chances.
The Tigers were just as intense at the start of the second period, when they took a 2-1 lead. Chris Ellevold got the go-ahead goal, off an assist from Jon Sicsik.
Shattuck then showed why it is such a highly regarded team reeling off three straight goals in the middle of the second period. The Tigers didn't fold. They came back, with Justin Elmer scoring off an assist from Danny Wells to cut the lead to 4-3.
"I was impressed with how we battled back to pull it back to 4-3," Swanda said.
The thrill from that goal didn't last long. Shattuck scored a fluke goal with 17 seconds left in the second period, giving the Sabers a 5-3 lead entering the third period.
Shattuck got the only goal of the third period, but scoring wasn't a true indication of how that period was played. The Tigers outshot Shattuck 17-6 in the third period.
"I'm more willing to accept a loss from Shattuck," Swanda said. "This is a game where we learned a lot of things."
The Tigers, ranked sixth in the state, have only lost to three different teams in the last three years: Shattuck, Hudson and Superior.
In Saturday's game the Tigers got three goals from Wells and two from Brady Powers. But it was clear that Swanda wanted a more convincing win from the Tigers.
"We were unmotivated for the game," Swanda said. "Medford did a good job of outworking us, playing with more passion."
The Tigers complete their pre-Christmas schedule this Saturday, when they play at Hayward. On Dec. 28-29 the Tigers are scheduled to play in a tournament in Rochester, Minn.
New Richmond 6, Medford 3
First Period: 1. NR, Danny Wells (Kyle Ensign) 1:56. 2. Medford, Cody Pernsteiner (Kaleb Anderson, Nick Clark) pp 14:12.
Second Period: 3. Medford, Mike Weiland (Dustin Rorger, Pernsteiner) 1:53. 4. NR, Brady Powers (Jon Sicsik) 13:57. 5. NR, Powers (Andy Smith) pp 14:30.
Third Period: 6. Medford, James Tracey (Pernsteiner) 12:49. 7. NR, Wells (Ensign, Tyler Hanson) 13:06. 8. NR, Brandon Larson (Justin Elmer, Hanson) 13:43. 9. NR, Wells (un) en 14:59.
Saves: New Richmond (Matt Knutson) 32; Medford (Jared Jacobs) 20.
Shattuck-St. Mary's 6,
New Richmond 3
First Period: 1. SSM, Sean Calister (Shaun Tribbert, Mario Mjelleli) 5:16. 2. NR, Jon Sicsik (Justin Elmer) sh 11:29.
Second Period: 3. NR, Chris Ellevold (Sicsik) pp 2:56. 4. SSM, Masa Takahashi (Aaron LaFave, Alex North) 3:47. 5. SSM, Mjelleli (Calister) 9:03. 6. SSM, Mjelleli (Tribbert) 10:49. 7. NR, Elmer (Danny Wells) 16:24. 8. SSM, Tribbert (un) 16:43.
Third Period: 9. SSM, LaFave (Ben Umhoffer, Christian Grunnah) 1:34.
Saves: New Richmond (Matt Page) 21; Shattuck-St. Mary's (Mike Sadjadi) 38.