Upsetting the No. 8 seeded Orioles of St. Louis Park, the No. 9 Waconia boys’ hockey team captured a first round playoff win on Feb. 19.
Trailing 2-0 in the second period, junior Matt Fulkerson brought the Wildcats within one goal at 13:50, scoring on a power play with assists from juniors Cal Rassman and Joe Benson.
“I thought we played pretty solid the whole way through,” WHS head coach Dan Benham said. “Even when we fell down 2-0, the boys stayed focused and kept grinding.”
Waconia kicked off the third period by tying the game at 2-2 as junior Collin Reus scored five seconds in on an assist from Fulkerson.
St. Louis Park responded at 5:53 to take a 3-2 lead, before the Wildcats locked down and scored two goals to end the game. At 9:22, senior Sam Schiffman scored on assists from seniors Blaine Wilsey and Kevin Kittleson, before Fulkerson sealed the game with a goal at 11:34, assisted by Benson.
“By the third period, we started to wear them down and kept the pressure on,” Benham said.
Senior Steven LaDouceur tended goal for WHS, saving 37 of 40 shots on goal for a .925 save percentage. The Wildcat offense got 21 shots off.
With the 4-3 win over St. Louis Park, the Wildcats advanced to Friday night’s game against the No. 1 Breck Mustangs, falling in a 10-1 game. Trailing 10-0 after two periods of play, the Wildcats were able to “win” the third period 1-0 when Kittleson scored the Wildcats’ lone goal at 12:37, assisted by sophomore Shane Reuben.
“We struggled getting anything going offensively and were caught chasing defensively,” Benham said. “Breck is a very quick and opportunistic team.”
LaDouceur and junior Noah Roddy split time in the net, with LaDouceur covering the first two periods. He allowed 10 goals on 32 shots for a .688 save percentage. Roddy saved 16 of 16 for a 1.000 save percentage in the third period.
The Wildcats finished the 2013-14 season 10-16-1. Look for a full season wrap up in the coming weeks.
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