Last week was a rough one for the Waconia boys’ hockey team, as the Wildcats fell to 2-3 on the season after losing games to Shakopee, section competitor Chaska, and conference opponent Holy Family.
WHS head coach Dan Benham said overall, the week was tough.
“But I continued to see a lot of fight from our boys, they never game up,” he said. “And even though our record and scores don’t show it, we are continuously improving.”
The week began Dec. 3 at Shakopee, where the Wildcats struggled to get going at the beginning the game. In the second period, major penalties were assessed to both teams for checking from behind and misconduct. Those penalties allowed for senior Alex Tasson to score a short handed goal to tie the game at 1-1 before Shakopee came storming back and hammered the Waconia net with five more goals in the period, three on power plays.
“We were not able to get any momentum after that,” Benham said, and the Wildcats would lose it 7-1.
Steven LaDouceur and Ian Schrup split the game in the WHS goal, with LaDouceur making 22 saves but allowing five goals for an .815 save percentage, while Schrup was 6-8 for a .750 save percentage.
After the first period on Dec. 5, the Wildcats trailed Chaska 2-0. After the Hawks opened a 3-0 lead in the second period, Waconia retaliated with three goals of its own, the first by Collin Reus on assists from Alex Fortwengler and Kevin Kittleson. Then, Joe Benson found the back of the net on assists from Cal Rassman and Fortwengler, before Rassman tied the game at 3-3 with a goal assisted by Fortwengler and Benson.
WHS took a 4-3 lead in the third period with a goal from Tasson (assisted by Mitchell Weiland) before Chaska tied it and took the game with a power play goal for the 5-4 game going to the Hawks.
“The boys kept fighting and worked their way back into the game,” Benham said of the team’s comeback. “I liked the way we started to control play in the third, but couldn’t finish on some good scoring chances.”
There’s no doubt a strong rivalry exists between former co-op teams Holy Family and Waconia, although the co-op has been dissolved for years. The Fire and the Wildcats faced off at Waconia on Dec. 7, with the Fire taking advantage of every WHS mistakes to knock the Wildcats down in a 8-1 game.
“With a team like Holy Family, you can’t make a lot of mistakes and we continued to put ourselves in bad situations and they capitalized when they had the chance,” Benham said.
The Fire led 3-0 after one period, before Matt Fulkerson scored the ‘Cats lone goal at the start of the second period. Tasson was credited with the assist. Holy Family then put in three goals in the second period and two more in the third for the 8-1 win.
Schrup tended goal for WHS, saving 38 of 42 shots for a .826 save percentage. In comparison, the Wildcats had just 14 shots on goal for the game.
Despite the losses, Benham said he likes the direction the team is headed.
“We have some younger players that are figuring out how to play at the high school level,” he said.
WHS hosts Robbinsdale Cooper this Saturday and Providence Academy on Tuesday.
Contact Melissa Marohl at email@example.com