Hockey wins first ever playoff game, then falls to Breck

Senior Justin Reinke
Senior Justin Reinke

For the first time, the Waconia boys’ hockey team won its first round playoff game last week in a 3-0 shutout over St. Louis Park. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they advanced to face No. 1 seeded Breck and were defeated 6-1, drawing the season to a close for Waconia. The Wildcats finished the year 9-16-2.

Waconia 3, SLP 0

In the first round of Section 2A play, the No. 8 seeded Wildcats defeated No. 9 St. Louis Park on Feb. 20. Waconia picks up its ninth win in its first shutout victory of the year.

Senior Tanner Riebel put the Wildcats up 1-0 at 3:47 in the first period, scoring on assists from juniors Blaine Wilsey and Kevin Kittleson.

The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead in the second period, scoring twice more in the first three minutes. Riebel scored unassisted at 1:34, followed by junior Sam Schiffman at 2:24. Sophomore Cal Rassman assisted Schiffman’s goal.

In the third period, Rassman scored at 10:09 to put away the Orioles, on assists from senior captain Ben Kullman and Schiffman.

The Wildcats outshot the Orioles 34-11. Senior goalie Nathan Kovach saved all 11 shots for a 1.000 save percentage.

WHS head coach Dan Benham said the Wildcats played very well in all areas on the ice for their first shutout of the season.

“Exciting to be playing well in the playoffs,” he said.

Breck 6, Waconia 1

The second round of playoffs brought a much more formidable opponent to the ice against the Wildcats. Facing off against the No. 1 seeded Breck Mustangs on Feb. 22, the Wildcats lost 6-1.

The Mustangs kicked off the game with a goal at 3:16, followed by a second goal at 12:04.

Schiffman was able to score the Wildcats’ lone goal at 13:49 in the first period, assisted by junior Alex Tasson. Leading 3-1 after one period, Breck scored twice in the second period and a power play goal in the third to make it a 6-1 game. The Wildcats had just 10 shots on goal to Breck’s 33.

Senior Nathan Kovach topped off his senior season by saving 27 shots on goal for a save percentage of .818.

Benham said Breck was a strong team and he was proud of how the Wildcats played.

“[I] thought we played well,” he said, “but couldn’t break through consistently.”

Breck advances to face No. 5 Providence Academy, who upset No. 4 Orono 5-4 on Feb. 21. No. 3 Delano defeated No. 6 Chaska 5-1 on Feb. 21, while No. 7 Blake upset No. 2 Mound-Westonka Feb. 22 in a 6-4 game.

Look for a full season wrap up of the WHS boys’ hockey team in the coming weeks.


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