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Hockey: Spartans in need of confidence boost

Somerset senior Elliot Olin (19) skates the puck out of the defensive zone during last week's loss to Onalaska. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

The losses are starting to wear on the nerves of the Somerset Spartans.

The Spartans saw their winless streak stretch to six games after losing a pair of games in a tournament at River Falls over the weekend. Last Wednesday, the boys hockey team lost a home game at the Somerset Ice Arena to Onalaska, 8-3.

Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson said he saw the frustration start to show on Saturday in the second round of the River Falls tournament, when the Spartans lost to Faribault, Minn., 3-1.

"That's a game we probably could have won," Gilkerson said. "We had a lot of chances to score. We're just not playing with a lot of confidence right now."

Somerset struck first in the game, with Jackson Haukom scoring a power play goal with 1:53 left in the first period. The Spartans' hopes were quickly deflated when Faribault scored with 32 seconds left in the period.

Neither team scored in the second period. The most noteworthy event of this period may have been the fact that Somerset was called for three penalties on one play. The Spartans were called for the triad of trouble with 7:16 left in the period, meaning they spent most of the remainder of the period successfully killing off 5-on-3 situations.

"That's the first time I've ever seen that," Gilkerson said of the three penalties. "We killed it off, we've been getting plenty of practice on our 5-on-3 penalty kill."

Faribault scored twice in the third period to decide the game. Faribault had a 35-28 edge in shots on goal.

On Friday, the Spartans suffered a 6-2 loss to Coon Rapids, Minn. This game featured a crazy start. For the second game in a row, Somerset allowed a goal on the first shift of the game, with Coon Rapids scoring 21 seconds into the action. This time answered right back. IMMEDIATELY. Haukom scored just six seconds after the Coon Rapids goal, tying the score at 1-1 at 27 seconds into the action.

Coon Rapids scored two more goals in the first period and another in the second period. The Spartans cut the lead to 4-2 when Wyatt Schmit scored two minutes into the third period. Coon Rapids scored in the middle of the period, moments after the Spartans had finished killing off another 5-on-3 situation.

Somerset was outshot 34-21 in the game.

The Spartans lost on their home ice last Wednesday to Onalaska. Onalaska scored twice in the first period. Somerset got one goal back when junior Jack Peterson blasted a power play goal past the Onalaska goalie in the final seconds of the period.

Onalaska broke the game open with four goals in the second period. Peterson scored again for Somerset late in the second period and Eli Tuttle scored in the third period.

The Spartans are hoping they can get back on a winning course this week. They were scheduled to play at Barron on Tuesday. They will host Amery on Thursday, Jan. 4 and Antigo in a 4 p.m. start on Saturday. The Spartans will play at Baldwin-Woodville next Tuesday.

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 more than 30 years.

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