A tie and a loss summed up last week for the Waconia boys’ hockey team. Now 7-11-2, the Wildcats have just five games remaining this season.
The conference remains a tight battle between No. 17 (2A) Holy Family, a team that is 7-1 in the Wright County standings, and No. 18 (1A) Mound-Westonka (7-2 WCC). Waconia, with a conference record of 2-4-1, is out of the title chase and sits in fifth over Hutchinson and Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato.
After hosting New Ulm tonight, Feb. 7, the Wildcats will finish the season against three ranked conference teams.
They will host No. 19 (1A) Orono on Feb. 12, sandwiched between road games versus No. 17 (2A) Holy Family (Feb. 9) and No. 18 (1A) Mound-Westonka (Feb. 15).
Waconia 2, Delano 2
With a tie at Delano on Jan. 29, Waconia head coach Dan Benham said the team played one of its stronger performances this season.
“We played a complete game and the boys skated hard,” he said. “We had some chances to win late in the game. Good team game.”
Senior Tanner Riebel started the scoring against the Tigers at 16:57 in the first period, finding the back of the net on an assist from junior Kevin Kittleson.
Delano scored at 1:26 in the second period, before Riebel responded with his second goal at 8:10, senior Ryan Mattson on the assist. The Tigers tied the game at 2-2 at 12:13 in the second.
The third and overtime periods remained scoreless and the game ended in the stalemate. Shots on goal were even as the Tigers had 35 to the Wildcats’ 31.
Senior goalie Nathan Kovach saved 33 shots for a .943 save percentage.
Providence Academy 5, Waconia 1
At Providence Academy on Jan. 31, the Wildcats had a rocky start to the game which led to the four-goal loss, according to Benham.
“Had a tough start to the game, taking a few penalties in [the] first and allowing them to get an early lead,” he said. “Never really felt like we got into the flow of the game.”
The Lions scored twice in the first period, the first on a power play at 12:29 and then again at 15:39. Two additional goals in the second period (one short-handed) extended their lead to four.
The Wildcats made the scoreboard at 2:05 in the third period, on a power play goal by sophomore Cal Rassman. Riebel and Mattson were credited with the assists.
Providence scored its fifth goal of the game at 15:41 in the third to seal the loss for Waconia.
The Lions outshot Waconia 32-20. Kovach saved 27 shots for a save percentage of .844.
“Nathan made some tough saves to keep us in it, but we were not able to capitalize on the offensive end,” Benham said.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com