The Waconia boys’ hockey team lost three games against Section 2A competitors last week, including St. Louis Park, Mound-Westonka, and Bloomington Kennedy. With the losses, the Wildcats drop to a 1-6 section record, are tied for the bottom of the Wright County Conference at 0-5, and are 6-11 overall. Despite the losses, WHS head coach Dan Benham is seeing improvement within the team.
“Throughout the week I thought we improved and played better,” he said. “We definitely had our share of scoring opportunities, but we are struggling with putting the puck away.”
The week began when the Wildcats hosted St. Louis Park on Jan. 14 and fell 4-0. St. Louis Park scored two goals in each of the first and second periods and despite four power play opportunities, the Wildcats couldn’t make things happen.
“We had a hard time getting going this game and found ourselves down 4-0 quickly,” Benham said. “About midway through the second I thought our play got better, but we were not able to find the back of the net.”
Senior Steven LaDouceur tended goal for WHS, saving 39 of 43 shots for a .907 save percentage. The Wildcats had 22 shots on goal.
Waconia was able to score one goal on Friday night at Mound-Westonka, but it wasn’t enough to keep the White Hawks from pulling off a 7-1 victory.
Down 5-0 at the beginning of the third period, junior Matt Fulkerson scored a power play goal on an assist from senior Kevin Kittleson at 4:13. Mound-Westonka put up two more goals later in the period for the 7-1 win.
“We played a much more up tempo game,” Benham said, “but really struggled on face offs.”
LaDouceur and junior Noah Roddy split time in goal, with LaDouceur saving 28 of 32 shots for a .875 save percentage, and Roddy saving 13 of 16 shots for a .812 percentage.
The week ended Jan. 18 with a 7-2 loss at Bloomington Kennedy.
“Kennedy has a solid team this year and strong D,” Benham said. “We definitely had opportunities.”
Down 4-0 in the second period, the Wildcats posted two goals to come within two. Senior Tony Fulkerson scored on an assist from junior Joe Benson at 8:27, before senior Sam Schiffman scored at 14:18 on assists from Fulkerson and senior Blaine Wilsey.
But Bloomington Kennedy would put away another goal in the second period and two more in the third for the five-goal lead and 7-2 victory.
Waconia got into penalty trouble against the Eagles, spending 21 minutes in the box on five infractions. The Wildcats were outshot 48-25 as well.
LaDouceur saved 41 shots for a .854 save percentage.
Now 0-5 in the WCC, the Wildcats are preparing for a string of conference games that began Jan. 21 against Hutchinson. Waconia will also host Delano Jan. 24 and Orono Jan. 28, before traveling to Litchfield to take on the Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato Dragons on Jan. 31. The Dragons are also 0-5 in the WCC.
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