Tigers frustrated by Superior again
The New Richmond boys hockey team fell one win short of claiming a ticket to the Wisconsin state tournament after being defeated by the Superior Spartans 3-2 in the WIAA sectional finals game on Saturday, March 1, in Amery.
“Obviously it is disappointing to lose to Superior again, but I’m not disappointed in our players or the effort they put in during the game,” Tigers coach Adam Swanda said. “We had our chances to tie the game late and I feel like if we had been able to tie the game things might have turned out differently. But the kids played really hard and played how they needed to to get the win. Superior is a good program and played a really good game.”
The Spartans came out flying in the first period, but the Tigers were able to repel Superior’s attacks and come out of the first period unscathed.
“It was really a hard fought game in the first period and we were able to weather the storm,” Swanda said. “Adam Dilley did a great job in net and was the reason the score was 0-0 at the end of the period. I told the guys in the locker room that we had weathered Superior’s best punch and now it was our time to go after them.”
Coming out of the intermission, Superior struck first just 36 seconds into the second period, and then scored again just over halfway through the period to take a 2-0 lead. However, the Tigers were able to cut the lead in half toward the end of the second period and make things interesting heading into the final period. The two goals scored by Superior went to Aaron Miller and Caden Tchop, while New Richmond’s goal was scored by Tanner Wisemiller.
“We let their players get away from us twice in that period and they scored easily both times,” Swanda said. “But we were able to get a goal right away after they scored the second time to make it 2-1 heading into the third period. The last 10 minutes of the third were really exciting to watch.”
The Spartans put their third goal behind Dilley early in the third to make it 3-1 on a shot by Miller, but New Richmond scored less than a minute later to keep pace. Neither team would score again, but the Tigers were able to pile up scoring chances late in the game.
“There were only five goals scored in a low-penalty game, which meant the kids were able to be the ones to determine the outcome and that is all a coach could ask for,” Swanda said. “The entire team played a very solid game, especially Dilley who had 37 saves and they all should be proud of their effort.”
Before making it to the section finals against Superior, the Tigers defeated Somerset 6-4 on Tuesday, Feb. 25, in front of a loud home crowd.
New Richmond trailed by three goals halfway through the second period, but a late power-play goal opened the floodgates for the Tigers who scored three unanswered goals in the final five minutes to build a 4-3 lead heading into the third period.
“We didn’t play well in the first period again in that game like we did in the Superior game,” Swanda said. “But it was really enjoyable to watch the team dig deep and battle back to get the win.”
Kole Hallmark led New Richmond in scoring with three goals and two assists in the game, while Jake Singerhouse, Maxx Wisemiller and Lubow chipped in a goal apiece. Dilley ended the game with 34 saves on 38 shots.
“We didn’t really make any adjustments when we were down in the first period, we just kept with our three-line rotation and we were able to get things going,” Swanda said. “Once we got the go-ahead goal, Somerset wasn’t able to punch back at all and we were able to keep the momentum. Our third line was one of the best in that game and they played well for us all throughout the playoffs.”
Looking at the season as a whole, Swanda feels that his team was very close to a state playoff berth and he hopes they can build off of this season and make that leap next year.
“We had our ups and downs this season, but we won a conference championship and were one goal or so away from a state berth,” Swanda said. “We lose five quality seniors to graduation, but we will return 13 skaters from this year’s team as well. I think that next year’s squad will give us a good shot at being in Madison at the the end of the season.”