Boys’ hockey falls to Orono

Senior Tanner Riebel handles the puck during an early season game.

Senior Tanner Riebel handles the puck during an early season game.

Just one game last week for the Waconia boys’ hockey team was a match-up against a strong conference team in the Orono Spartans.

In the 5-1 loss on Dec. 6, the Wildcats got off to a slow start, allowing Orono and early lead. The Spartans scored three times in the first period.

In the third, the Spartans had opened up a 5-0 lead before Waconia was able to get on the scoreboard. Senior Tanner Riebel scored on a power play at 16:33 in the period, assisted by Mattson. Unfortunately, the Wildcats ran out of time before they could come up with another goal.

Senior Nathan Kovach saved 34 of the Spartans’ shots on goal for a save percentage of .872.

Head coach Dan Benham said despite 23 shots on goal, the Wildcats’ slow start was too much to overcome.

“We started out a little slow against a strong Orono team,” he said. “And despite having some quality scoring chances, we couldn’t bury the puck until late in the third.”

Benham added that while the team is still searching for the right line combinations on the offensive end, he continues to see growth within the team.

“I’m excited to see a game where we put it all together,” he said.

The Wildcats are now 1-5 this season.

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