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Tigers sizzle at start, keep up pressure in 12-1 win over RF

This is how every coach envisions their team starting a game.

The New Richmond boys hockey team took absolute control of last Thursday's game from the opening faceoff and never backed off. The Tigers scored three goals in the first five minutes of the game and rolled to a 12-1 win over River Falls in the WIAA hockey regional final.

With the win the Tigers advance into Tuesday's sectional semifinal against Menomonie. The winner of Tuesday's game will play in the sectional championship, which will be played at Hobbs Ice Arena in Eau Claire at 3 p.m. on Saturday. The opposition in the game will be the winner of the other sectional semifinal between Hudson and Eau Claire Memorial.

The Tigers are the highest scoring boys varsity team in the state of Wisconsin this season. With the 12 goals scored Thursday the Tigers now have scored 151 goals, while allowing 24. Superior is second with 144 goals scored.

Tyler Hanson started the Tiger scoring Thursday, getting a breakaway when a Wildcat defenseman fell down. Tiger coach Adam Swanda said the importance of the little things showed in this goal. The whole play was set up when a Tiger went down to block a Wildcat shot, with the puck bounding to Hanson after it was blocked.

The Tigers went ahead 2-0 when senior Luke Jensen scored from traffic in front of the net.

The rapid ability of the Tigers to score was shown on their next goal. Five seconds after a River Falls penalty, Kyle Dove scored after Dan Wells won a faceoff. One of the targets for the Tigers late in the season has been to improve their faceoff performance, and that showed in this game.

"We had to get tougher in faceoffs," Swanda said. "And we've changed the forecheck to pick off more weakside passes."

The intensity shown by the Tigers caused the River Falls coaches to call a timeout five minutes into the game to try to regroup. The Wildcats weren't able to stem the Tigers' enthusiasm, as New Richmond rolled to a 7-0 lead in the first period.

"I hope we can keep that going for two more games," Swanda said about the Tigers' ferocious first period. "We had them on their heels from the start."

Dan Bergman led the Tigers with four goals Thursday. Dove scored three goals and Josh Calleja scored twice. Calleja also produced six assists. Hanson added three assists after scoring the first goal.

New Richmond 12, River Falls 1

First Period: 1. NR, Tyler Hanson (Josh Calleja) 1:46. 2. NR, Luke Jensen (Jon Siscik, Justin Elmer) 2:34. 3. NR, Kyle Dove (Dan Wells) pp 4:59. 4. NR, Dan Bergman (Calleja, Hanson) 9:49. 5. NR, Dove (Tom Wells) sh 10:54. 6. NR, Bergman (Calleja, Siscik) 12:40. 7. NR, Calleja (Walters, Bergman) 14:57.

Second Period: 8. NR, Bergman (Calleja) 8:36. 9. NR, Dove (Tim Kretovics, Chris Ellevold) 9:04. 10. NR, Bergman (Calleja, Hanson) 12:18. 11. NR, Calleja (Bergman) pp 14:54.

Third Period: 12. RF, Mike Popelka (Jackson Schwartz) sh :46. 13. NR, Ellevold (Calleja, Hanson) 10:19.

Saves: New Richmond (Matt Page 7, Matt Knutson 5) 12; River Falls (Mike Rosenthal) 34.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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