New Richmond boys hockey hopes to make a final charge
The New Richmond boys hockey team has four games to make its case.
The Tigers are now 7-7-2 this season and their positioning for the upcoming WIAA sectional tournament seeding meeting is murky at best.
The Tigers have four games left to salvage their seeding. That starts this Thursday when the Tigers play at Somerset. The Tigers will host River Falls next Monday.
Right before the Feb. 3 seeding meeting, the Tigers play two home games. They host Hudson on Friday, Feb. 1, before facing Eau Claire Memorial the following night.
This would be a great time for the Tigers to build some momentum, which has been incredibly elusive for them this season. The Tigers played three games last week, beating Amery before losing to WSFLG and Eau Claire Regis.
It looked like the momentum might be starting after the Tigers won at Amery 3-0. Tiger senior goalie Aaron Chwialkowski stopped 19 Amery shots, including several Warrior chances on power plays, to record the shutout.
The Tigers have been battling illness and injuries. In this game, Hunter Cox saw more game time and he made the most of it. He scored two of the Tigers' goals and he assisted on Michael Bodsberg's goal.
A stellar defensive effort from the Tigers neutralized Amery leading scorer Ryan Mullendore. The bad news from Tuesday's game was senior defenseman Kaleb Kier reinjuring an ankle sprain that's limited him the past month.
On Thursday the Tigers went to Siren to face the Burnett County cooperative team that carries the acronym WSFLG for the five schools involved in the co-op. The Tigers scored twice in the first 3:30 of the game. But what looked like a game the Tigers would control gradually turned into a nightmare, with WSFLG winning 4-2.
Tiger coach Adam Swanda said WSFLG should never been in a position to come back, because the Tigers should have been up by four or five goals before WSFLG scored its first goal midway through the first period. Swanda was not a fan of the officiating in the game, but said the team has itself to blame for the loss.
"We missed plenty of chances to break the game open. Some questionable calls opened up the opportunity for them to get momentum," Swanda said.
Hunter Charland scored 2:07 into the game and Austin Zywiec scored at the 3:30 mark to give the Tigers the early lead at Siren. The Tigers put 39 shots on goal, but could get just those two past Blizzard goalie Brandon Roufs.
On Saturday morning the Tigers played in Eau Claire against the Regis-McDonell-Bloomer co-op team that is leading the Middle Border Conference. Regis won 5-3, putting the MBC title nearly out of reach.
The first period was scoreless until the final minute. Regis scored off a faceoff win in the final minute. Regis added three goals in the second period to take charge in the game.
Swanda said the Tigers played well at times on Saturday. But with this being their fourth game in seven days, there were times when the Tigers didn't seem to have the energy to stay with Regis.
Nick Lubow scored twice for the Tigers in the loss.
Swanda said he wants to see more spark from his players in the upcoming game that will give him a better case to present at the seeding meeting.
"Our willingness to compete has got to get better," he said. "Our objective is to win the next four games and see where that leaves us."