The offensive unit for the Waconia boys’ hockey team lit up last week scoring 20 goals in two games. Defeating Richfield and Robbinsdale Cooper, the Wildcats picked up two much-needed wins, improving to 3-5 this season.
Head coach Dan Benham said he likes the way the team is continuing to grow and work together and hopes to keep the offensive intensity.
“Definitely need to take the momentum from these two games and carry it into conference play,” he said.
Waconia 8, Richfield 3
In only its second win of the season, the Waconia boys’ hockey team made up for lost time in a big way against Richfield on Dec. 11. Winning 8-3, the Wildcat attack was on fire, putting multiple goals into the net each period.
In the first 13 minutes of the opening period, Waconia scored four unanswered goals, the first by senior Justin Reinke at 4:10. He was assisted by senior Tanner Riebel, who would go on to score a hat trick later in the game. Waconia’s second goal came off the stick of senior captain Ryan Mattson at 9:54, assisted by junior Blaine Wilsey. Reinke scored his second goal of the game two minutes later at 11:54 (assisted by Mattson). On a power play goal at 12:44, junior Alex Fortwengler put the Wildcats up 4-0. Wilsey assisted Fortwengler’s goal.
In the closing minutes of the period, the Spartans posted two goals to close the ‘Cats lead. Richfield’s momentum carried into the second period, where 44 seconds in, the Spartans scored goal number three, putting the chase on Waconia.
But Waconia was not to be overtaken, as the Wildcats posted four additional goals to win the game 8-3. At 4:34 in the second, Fortwengler scored his second goal of the game on an assist from junior Jeff Balow.
Riebel then proceeded to complete a hat trick in the second and third periods for the Wildcat victory.
At 8:42 in the second, Riebel scored on a power play, assisted by junior Alex Tasson.
Into the third period went the game, and with it, Riebel’s hot streak. At 7:44, and then eight seconds later at 7:53, Riebel scored back-to-back goals for the Wildcats. Reinke was credited with the assist on the first of Riebel’s two goals; the second was unassisted. Although not officially confirmed, Benham is confident Reibel’s back-to-backs are likely a team and school record.
The Wildcats dominated offensively most of the game, taking nearly twice as many shots on goal (52-28). Junior Matt Molinari took to the Waconia goal for the first time this season. He saved 25 of 28 Richfield shots for a .893 save percentage.
Waconia 12, Robbinsdale Cooper 2
The Wildcats hammered the Robbinsdale Cooper goal on Dec. 15, and despite having nearly equal shots on goal (Waconia won 34-31), the ‘Cats found the back of the net 12 times, while the Hawks only got past senior Nathan Kovach twice. Kovach finished with a .935 save percentage.
“We’re getting better at finishing plays and putting the puck away,” Benham said.
Between Reinke and Riebel, there was hardly a goal on the ice that was untouched by one of the two players. Despite the lopsided victory, Robbinsdale Cooper actually scored the first goal of the game, at 6:21 in the first period.
The Wildcats answered with four goals in the remaining 10-plus minutes to lead 4-1 after one. Reinke kicked in his first goal of the game at 8:46, assisted by senior Alec Bohman and Riebel. Riebel, in turn, scored at 11:25 assisted by sophomore Cal Rassman and Reinke. He scored again at 13:23, assisted by Reinke, before Reinke scored 14 seconds later (13:37), assisted by Riebel.
Rassman scored 20 seconds into the second period, assisted by Reinke, to put the ‘Cats up 5-1. Junior Sam Schiffman scored his first goal of the season at 3:51 in the second, assisted by Rassman and Riebel.
Reinke completed his hat trick at 7:37, assisted by Riebel, before Tasson put in goal number eight for Waconia at 12:40 (assisted by Schiffman). The team’s only power play goal of the game came off the stick of Mattson at 14:45 assisted by Reinke and junior Kevin Kittleson.
Robbinsdale Cooper scored once more before the end of period to still trail 9-2.
The third period was again Waconia dominated. Fortwengler scored an unassisted short-handed goal at 7:29 to put the Wildcats in double digits.
Senior Brady Turner shot another goal in at 8:42, assisted by Tasson.
Senior Kyle Kauma sealed the game with a goal for Waconia at 10:05 on assists from Bohman and junior Tony Fulkerson.