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Nichols hat trick helps Spartans rail Altoona

Greg Nichols isn't the most noticeable player on the Somerset hockey team.

But he's made himself into one of the most productive players on the team. Nichols produced his first varsity hat trick last Tuesday, when the Somerset skaters produced a 7-3 win at Altoona.

The game moved Somerset's season record to 4-0.

Nichols opened the scoring in the game, netting the first goal 1:08 into the game. The Spartans then continued their trend of giving up one goal early in the first period, when Altoona scored at the 2:40 mark of the first period.

Jake Rorabeck snapped the tie by scoring an unassisted goal at the 4:18 mark. Somerset coach Grant Belisle said Rorabeck has been creating more scoring opportunities than any player on the team, and this was finally a reward for his continued scoring attempts.

The Spartans moved the lead to 3-1 on Tadd Landry's goal seven minutes into the period.

Altoona scored again early in the second period, before Nichols made sure the Spartans had the game under control. Nichols answered the Altoona goal 50 seconds later with his second goal of the night. At the 7:51 mark he completed the trifecta on an assist by Dayne Schneibel.

Schneibel then scored a goal of his own to raise the lead to 6-2. Landry rounded out the scoring, getting the only goal of the third period, his second of the game.

Belisle said Nichols is doing what the rest of the team needs to do, taking the shots that are available.

"He's not picky, he takes the shot he gets. He works hard on the ice, he does everything we ask of him," Belisle said.

The Spartans played at Altoona without defenseman Corey Hehling, who suffered a cut to the bone on his knee in practice the night before the game. Hehling did bounce back quickly, playing in the game at New Richmond last Thursday.

After having little practice time since the beginning of the season, the Spartans now have a ton of time to practice. They have already hit their holiday break, not playing again until the Baldwin-Woodville Invitational on Dec. 29-31. That gives the Spartans an 18-day break between games.

Somerset 7, Altoona 3

First Period: 1. Somerset, Greg Nichols (Derick Leverty) 1:48. 2. Altoona, Jake Redetzke (Grant Squires) 2:40. 3. Somerset, Jake Rorabeck (un) 4:18. 4. Somerset, Tadd Landry (Leverty) 7:01.

Second Period: 5. Altoona, Tim Melgard (Alex Newman) 1:49. 6. Somerset, Nichols (Andrew Westerdahl) 2:39. 7. Somerset, Nichols (Dayne Schneibel) 7:51. 8. Somerset, Schneibel (Leverty, Colin Hehling) 11:35. 9. Altoona, Redetzke (Newman, Derek Guse) pp 14:36.

Third Period: 10. Somerset, Landry (Bryce Montpetit, Matt Rivard) 12:57.

Saves: Altoona (Sarin Strobush) 20; Somerset (Ryan Schleusner) 16.

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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