Thursday’s Results: Bradbury leads Tiger skaters; NR wrestlers roll
While neither of the team’s seniors actually got to wrestle on Senior Night, the event was a highly satisfying victory for the New Richmond Tigers and their teammates when they hosted Somerset on Thursday.
The Tigers improved to 4-1 with a 60-6 win over Somerset on Thursday. There were only seven matches wrestled, with New Richmond winning five of the seven.
Devin Denison, Christian Moeller, Adam Stener, Tyler Harris and Brandon Dennis recorded the Tigers’ wins, all coming via pins.
The two seniors on the Tiger roster are Braeden Gefeke and Jake LaVenture, both who received forfeits Thursday. Gefeke returned to wrestling as a junior and it’s a decision he’s clearly pleased with.
“It’s hard, but it’s worth it. The coaches are great, the team is great,” Gefeke said. “What really drew me in was the individuality. I’m a team sport guy. (In wrestling) you get the best of both worlds.”
Gefeke said he’s doing better than last season but is still looking for more from himself.
“I always shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you land on the stars,” he said.
New Richmond coach Jeff Swanson said he was pleased with the Tigers’ performance. He said several wrestlers showed increased aggression, led by Harris and Stener.
“That’s (Stener’s) most complete match in two years,’ Swanson said.
Even in the two losses, the Tigers showed good things against Somerset standouts Jared Grahovac and Tyler Hantsbarger. Grahovac won 5-2 over Tyler Dennis, but the match was 3-2 until the final buzzer. Cayden Henning rode Hantsbarger for the final four minutes of the match, but couldn’t turn him for back points, losing 2-0.
Somerset coach Ali Peterson was not pleased with anything he saw from the Spartans.
“We did nothing offensively. We had one offensive move the whole evening,” he said. “New Richmond took it to us. They dictated all the tie-ups.”
The best news for the Spartans was Grahovac’s win, which gives him 99 for his career. He will go for his 100th win next Thursday in the Spartans’ home match against Amery.
New Richmond boys hockey
The Tigers are back in contention for the Middle Border Conference title after pulling out an exhilarating 6-5 win at Amery on Thursday. The win moved the Tigers into a tie with Amery for second place in the MBC standings. The Tigers will play at MBC leader Baldwin-Woodville next Tuesday.
Senior Hayden Bradbury was the star of the show Thursday. Bradbury scored five goals, including the go-ahead goal with 3:30 left in the game. The drama didn’t end there. The Tigers were then called for a five-minute penalty, putting them on the penalty kill for the rest of the game. For part of that time, Amery pulled its goalie, making it six-on-four.
“It was hard fought, we had guys laying out blocking shots,” said New Richmond coach Zach Kier. “These guys have always fought and competed. Now they’re learning to compete the right way.”
The Tigers fell behind 2-0 early in the game and this ended up being a series of comebacks for the Tigers. The Tigers showed their grit by coming back three times after Amery had rebuilt its lead.
Kier said the Tiger defense had a difficult night. He said Amery skaters were able to get behind the Tiger defense several times during the game, leading to high percentage scoring chances for the Warriors.
But in the end, there was no stopping Bradbury. Amery led 5-3 with eight minutes left in the game. Then Bradbury took charge, scoring his third, fourth and fifth goals. The five goals give Bradbury 17 for the season.
“We think he’s one of the best players in this section and it showed tonight,” Kier said of Bradbury.
Somerset boys hockey
The Spartans rode a five-goal second period to their fifth win of the season on Thursday, notching a 6-3 home-ice win over the WSFLG co-op team based in Burnett County.
Somerset dominated play in all three periods of this game. The Spartans had a wide shot advantage in each period, resulting in a 43-18 total shot margin.
“Ninety percent of the game, the puck was on our sticks,” said Somerset coach Dan Gilkerson.
Six different Spartans each scored one goal during the game. WSFLG scored first, but Spartan defenseman John Wiehl matched that goal late in the first period.
In the second period, Jordan Brown, Jackson Haukom, Noah Bailey, AJ Simpkins and Geoffrey Enger all scored. For Enger, a junior, it was his first varsity goal. Gilkerson said Enger is one of several Spartans who has shown significant improvement over the first half of the season.
“He’s definitely earning more ice time,” Gilkerson said. “Over the holidays his play stepped up.”
The Spartans will be back in action on Saturday, skating at Bloomington Kennedy.
St. Croix Central boys basketball
The Panthers locked in another taut battle with an MBC opponent, but this time they couldn’t pull out the win. The Panthers lost at home against Ellsworth, 60-56. Two nights earlier, the Panthers had defeated Prescott, 71-70.
The battle with Ellsworth saw Central leading by one point at halftime. The Panthers started the second half well, extending the lead to five points. Then turnovers began to bog down Central. Central had 19 turnovers compared to eight for Ellsworth and Ellsworth scored a number of points in transition.
Central got Ellsworth’s lead down to two points with 90 seconds left. Ellsworth hit a three-pointer after a timeout. Central came up empty in its next possession and Ellsworth’s lead never was smaller than four points in the final minute.
Ellsworth was led by Logan Benson’s 29 points, which included him hitting 13 of 14 free throws in a foul-filled game. Peyton Nogal led Central with 19 points and Kelson Klin finished with 12 points.
St. Croix Central wrestling
The Panthers lost their MBC match at Amery on Thursday, 51-21. Injuries and illness ravaged the Panthers, leaving the team with six open slots, including all the weights between 152 and 195 pounds.
The Panthers won four of the eight matches that were wrestled. The match featured the return of senior Ryan Larson, who suffered a knee injury in the WIAA Division 4 state football championship game. Larson was tied with his opponent early in the second period. Larson then drove his opponent to the match and quickly registered the pin.
“That double showed me all I needed to see,” SCC coach Brad Holzer said about Larson’s health and readiness for wrestling.
Also scoring pin victories for the Panthers were Nate Berends and Devin Wasley, with Tadan Holzer earning a decision win.
On Friday the Panthers will host their annual Hall of Fame duals event, starting at 5:30 p.m. The Panthers will wrestle three dual matches. Jason Heinbuch will be this year’s Hall of Fame inductee.