Boys’ hockey grabs first win

After starting the season 0-4, the Waconia boys’ hockey team picked up its first win last weekend over St. Louis Park. The Wildcats lost to Shakopee and Irondale earlier in the week.

Shakopee 5, Waconia 2
Head coach Dan Benham said the Wildcats played well against Shakopee on Nov. 27, but struggled to find the back of the net. With 53 shots on goal, the ‘Cats handedly outshot Shakopee 53-17, but when the Sabers shot, they made it count.

Neither team scored in the first period, leaving the scoreboard empty at 0-0.

Junior Jeff Balow and two Irondale skaters chase after the puck during Waconia’s 4-3 loss on Nov. 29.
Junior Jeff Balow and two Irondale skaters chase after the puck during Waconia’s 4-3 loss on Nov. 29.

Senior Tanner Riebel put the Wildcats up 1-0 a minute into the second period with a goal assisted by senior Justin Reinke. Shakopee scored at 9:32 and 11:00 to lead 2-1 after the second.

After another Shakopee goal in the third, sophomore Cal Rassman found the net for the ‘Cats on an assist from Riebel. Shakopee put in two more before the game was out for the 5-2 victory.

The Wildcats were in control most of the game, but need to work on finishing, Benham said.

Senior Nathan Kovach made 12 saves in goal for Waconia for a .706 save percentage, compared to Shakopee junior Sean Surbaugh who saved 51-53 shots for a save percentage of .962.

Irondale 4, Waconia 3
Hosting Irondale on Nov. 29, the Wildcats were able to adapt to Irondale’s high level of physicality, according to Benham.

Irondale led 1-0 after one period. At 1:21 in the second, junior Alex Fortwengler scored for Waconia, assisted by juniors Blaine Wilsey and Jeff Balow. Irondale took the lead again before Wilsey found the back of the net on a power play at 7:19 in the second period. Senior captain Ben Kullman and Fortwengler were credited with the assist.

Waconia senior Ryan Mattson put in another power play goal at 9:08 in the third period (assisted by Reinke), but it wasn’t enough to over come Irondale, who knocked in the game-winner at 12:24.

Irondale outshot Waconia 44-23. Kovach saved 40 shots for a .909 save percentage.

Waconia 4, SLP 2
The boys picked up their first win on the road at St. Louis Park on Saturday, Dec. 1. Benham described the game as more complete than game past, and said the special teams continue to improve.

“We started locking down our D-zone and finished on the offensive end,” he said.

Balow kicked off the scoring in the first period, scoring a power play goal assisted by sophomore Collin Reus to lead 1-0 after one period.

In the second, St. Louis Park capitalized on a power play to tie the game, before another Waconia power play goal, this time by Wilsey (assisted by junior Chris Haus) put the Wildcats up 2-1.

Riebel shot in two unassisted goals in the third period for the 4-1 lead before St. Louis Park brought it to 4-2.

Waconia outshot St. Louis Park 36-29. Waconia spent over 20 minutes on the power play, as St. Louis Park had 21 penalty minutes. Waconia had 10. Kovach saved 27 of 29 shots for a .931 save percentage.