Tiger skaters win twice at RochesterThree solid days of team building, togetherness and hockey did wonders for the New Richmond boys as they competed in the Kiwanis Wells Fargo Hockey Tournament in Rochester, Minn. from Dec. 29-31.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Three solid days of team building, togetherness and hockey did wonders for the New Richmond boys as they competed in the Kiwanis Wells Fargo Hockey Tournament in Rochester, Minn. from Dec. 29-31.
After being outscored 9-0 in their first five periods of the tournament, the Tigers put together a momentous turnaround. They outscored their opponents 8-1 in the next four periods to earn two wins in the tournament.
After starting the season 0-4, the Tigers won three of their next four games to bring their record to 3-5. The Tigers will get two more good tests in the upcoming days. On Thursday the Tigers play at Amery, in hopes of evening their Middle Border Conference record at 1-1. Next Tuesday the Tigers play at home against Rice Lake. The Warriors are one of the top teams in the Big Rivers Conference this season.
In the opening game of last week’s tournament the Tigers faced one of the favorites in the tournament, Rochester Century. Century had one outstanding player who the Tigers couldn’t stop, leading to a 7-0 defeat for the Tigers.
That put the Tigers against Rochester John Marshall in the second day of the tournament. The Tigers outplayed John Marshall in the first two periods, but it didn’t show on the scoreboard. JM led 2-0 after two periods.
“We outplayed John Marshall early, we hit a couple posts,” said Tiger coach Adam Swanda. “We were having good scoring chances, but no luck.”
Senior Jared Singerhouse finally broke through for the Tigers, scoring 2:37 into the second period. Joe Bowar, the Tigers’ leading scorer, got the tying goal at the 10:37 mark of the third period.
Sophomore Sam Stroot then scored a memorable first varsity goal. Stroot is one of the younger Tigers who isn’t seeing regular shifts, yet. But he made the most of his chance here. He yelled that he was uncovered as he skated down the slot. Singerhouse fed the puck to Stroot and he buried it, putting the Tigers in front with 5:32 left. John Marshall tried to tie the score, but Bowar scored into an empty net with 42 seconds left to ice the win.
In the final round of the tournament the Tigers met a strong, senior-packed team from Buffalo, Minn. Swanda said he thought Buffalo was one of the better teams in the tournament field. That didn’t stop the Tigers from outplaying Buffalo to earn a 4-1 win.
Stroot again was the player who provided a pivotal goal for the Tigers. Five minutes into the game, he intercepted a pass in the high slot. He immediately turned and blasted a shot above the glove of the Buffalo goaltender for a goal.
Another big individual effort put the Tigers ahead 2-0 with three minutes left in the opening period. On the penalty kill, Bowar got down and blocked a shot from the point with his body. The puck glanced out to center ice, where Bowar chased it down. He skated in and scored on the breakaway.
Bowar scored again six minutes into the second period. Buffalo scored 26 seconds later. That didn’t derail the Tigers’ mounting confidence. The Tigers added a goal from Josh Leavens early in the third period. They then killed off four penalties in the third period without giving up a goal to complete the win.
Swanda said he enjoys playing in this tournament because it’s a hockey immersion for the players. It’s round-the-clock thinking about hockey and about their team.
“Every year there’s a light switch that goes on,” Swanda said. “We are a better team by the end of the three days.”
Swanda said he was especially pleased with the play of the Tiger defensemen during the tournament. Eric Wergin, Zach Kier, Tyler Montgomery and Nate Jones played nearly all the minutes on defense in the three games and Swanda said their progress was noticeable.
“They did a nice job of winning the one-on-one battles. They aren’t making the panicked decisions,” Swanda said.