Wildcats split conference games

The Waconia boys’ hockey team split two conference games last week, first falling to Mound-Westonka, but rallying to defeat Hutchinson later in the week. The Wildcats are now 2-4-0 in the Wright County Conference (fifth) and are 7-10-1 overall.

Mound 5, Waconia 2

Hosting the White Hawks on Jan. 22, Waconia head coach Dan Benham said the Wildcats played “decent” first and third periods, but the second period was tough for the team.

“We took some penalties and played shorthanded,” he said.

Mound-Westonka was the first team on the scoreboard, scoring at 3:47 in the first period. Junior Blaine Wilsey tied it at 1-1 at 4:07, scoring on the power play. Wilsey goal came off assists from junior Alex Fortwengler and senior captain Ben Kullman.

Sophomore Joe Benson races a Mound-Westonka defender for the puck on Jan. 22.

Sophomore Joe Benson races a Mound-Westonka defender for the puck on Jan. 22.

The White Hawks scored again at 11:46 to lead 2-1 after one period.

Mound-Westonka continued to control the puck in the second, scoring at 6:53 (power play) and 13:05 for the 4-1 lead. The White Hawks also opened the third period with a goal at 9:12.

At 15:45 in the third, junior Tony Fulkerson scored the Wildcats’ second goal, assisted by junior Sam Schiffman, but it was too late for the Wildcat offense to rally and the game went to Mound-Westonka.

The White Hawks handily outshot the Wildcats on goal, 65-26. Waconia spent 19 minutes in the penalty box, compared to Mound-Westonka’s four.

Both goalies finished with .923 save percentages. Waconia senior Nathan Kovach saved 60 shots, while Mound-Westonka’s Alec Hill saved 24 shots.

Benham said Kovach’s excellence in goal helped keep Waconia in the game.

Waconia 4, Hutch 1

Traveling to Hutchinson on Thursday, the Wildcats were able to put together a good game, according to Benham, for the 4-1 conference victory.

The Tigers jumped out in the first with a goal at 5:27, before senior captain Ryan Mattson found the back of the net at 9:42, on assists from sophomore Cal Rassman and Kullman.

Waconia controlled the scoreboard in the second period, netting two more goals. The first came on a power play at 5:53 from Kullman (assisted by Wilsey and sophomore Collin Reus). At 7:25, Fortwengler scored his first of two goals on assists from junior Kevin Kittleson and senior Kyle Kauma. In the third period, Fortwengler found the back of the net again at 3:43, this time assisted by senior Brady Turner and sophomore Joe Benson, for the Wildcats’ 4-1 victory.

Although Hutchinson outshot Waconia 39-31, the Wildcats goals snuck past Tiger goal Kellyn Buss and Waconia grabbed the win.

Kovach saved 38 of 39 shots on goal for an impressive .974 save percentage.

“Once again, Kovach played well and put us in a position to win,” Benham said.

As the special teams continue to improve, Benham also said the defensemen were playing smart hockey.

The Wildcats are at Providence Academy Jan. 31 and Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato Feb. 5, before returning home to host New Ulm on Feb. 7.

 

Contact Melissa Marohl at melissa.marohl@ecm-inc.com

 
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