The Mound Westonka boys high school hockey team opened the season Thanksgiving weekend with a trip to the Iron Range Fri. Nov. 25 at Virginia and Sat. Nov. 26 against Hibbing. The boys came home with a win and a loss against two top 20 ranked northern schools.
Friday night in Virginia our boys got off to a slow start after traveling and had a hard time shaking off their turkey legs. The Blue Devils took advantage of 2 early 1st period White Hawk penalties when Derek Judnick beat MW goaltender Andy Seats at 2.35 and again at 6.57 of the period with 2 power play goals. A short time later, at 8.04, David Bingham (assist. Alex Bakke,Charlie Curti) got the White Hawks on the scoreboard on his own rebound of a wrap around from behind the net after consistent pressure in the offensive zone. At the end of one, the boys were down 2-1.
The 2nd period didn’t get much better with Virginia extending the lead with a goal at 2.22 after a White Hawk turnover in the defensive zone. The Blue Devils notched a 3rd pp goal at 10.53 with a shot from the low slot area. Virginia limited the White Hawk scoring chances, allowing only 4 shots to hit the goal in the middle frame and the White Hawks play in the defensive zone was sloppy. At the end of the 2nd the Blue Devils had extended the lead to 4-1.
Virginia added a 5th goal at 4.02 of the 3rd after another White Hawk D- zone turnover. The White Hawks closed the gap at 9.56 off of David Binghams 2nd goal of the night (assist. Bakke, Tanner Palm) after he chased the puck down behind the Blue Devil goal firing a shot from the weak side 15 ft out from the net. MW’s Tanner Palm tightened the score off a feed from behind the net at 12.06 (assist. Jeremy Schulz, Kyle Luehmann) for the Junior’s 1st tally of the season. The White Hawks took control of the last 10 minutes of the game but could not overcome the 4 goal deficit and fell to a well balanced Virginia team 5-3. MW goaltender Seats had 25 saves on the evening keeping the White Hawks in the game.
The following evening MW traveled to Hibbing to face a tough Blue Jacket team featuring Jr. Adam Johnson. The Hibbing center recorded 42 goals and 43 assists in the 2010/2011 season. Johnson opened the scoring at 13.15 of the 1st on a back door rebound after a shot from the left faceoff circle left him all alone with a wide open net to shoot at. Most of the period was well played with crisp passing and end to end action by both teams. At the end of one, MW was down 1-0
The boys got off to a fast start in the 2nd when Jack Brandstetter got loose on a breakaway at .55 of the period only to get thwarted by the Hibbing netminder. The White Hawks evened the score at 11.25 when senior defenseman Will Griffith found the back of the net on a nice snap shot from the blue line (unassisted). MW goalie David Engel kept the scored tied with 2 sharp saves on two semi breakaways late in the period. At the end of 2, the score was knotted up at 1-1
The White Hawks fell behind after Hibbing’s Johnson scored off a nice feed from the corner at 4.00 on the power play to start the 3rd period. MW’s Engel made a point bank save at 9.23 keeping the Hawks within one goal. At 10.33 White Hawk junior Blake Brady (Assist. Alex Bakke, Will Griffith) found the back of the net when Griffith passed the puck up the left wing to Bakke who skated into the corner and flung the puck to a breaking Brady on the far side of the net. Less than a minute later at 11.23 MW sophomore Hunter Smith tipped the puck past the Blue Jacket goaltender off a Griffith shot from the point with an additional assist to Kyle Luehmann on the power play. MW was up 3-2 but Hibbing came storming back, determined to tie the score. With just 3 minutes left in the game MW’s Griffith was called for high sticking on what appeared to be a questionable call. For the next 2 minutes the Blue Jackets potent power play moved the puck well peppering the White Hawk goal. MW goaltender Engel held his ground playing very well all night, and being aided by some nice block shots from his teammates. At the 16.00 mark the Hibbing coach pulled the goalie only to have his team take 2 late period penalties killing any chance of scoring in the last minute. The White Hawks scored 2 goals in the 3rd on only 5 shots in the period escaping with an exciting 3-2 victory.
The MW JV squad played well Fri. with a game winning goal by Nate Baskfield with .02 left on the clock in Virginia and a 1-0 win over the Hibbing JV team on Tommy Ewing’s 3rd period goal Sat.
Next up for the White Hawks, Tues. Dec. 6 at Monticello and Sat. Dec. 10 Holy Family for a home game at Thaler at 3pm.