The Orono Spartans hosted the New Prague Trojans Jan. 27 on their home ice. The Spartans had already traveled to New Prague earlier this season, where they came away with a 2-0 win.
The Trojans were geared up for a second game, but the Spartans were even more prepared to face them again, this time with a home ice advantage.
The teams fought hard for puck possession and soon the Spartans were in the offensive zone with Sophomore Revis Stephenson deep in the corner. Stephenson found senior captain Joey Luedtke, who hammered the one-timer in on net.
The puck rebounded off the goaltender’s facemask, right to junior Riley Vieth, who had all the net in the world. He buried it, putting Orono up 1-0. The rest of the first period saw no other goals from either squad.
The second period brought a lot of back-and-forth between the teams. They went shot for shot on net.
With only three seconds left in the period, New Prague took a shot. Senior goalie Jonathan Flakne made the first save, but couldn’t control the rebound.
New Prague crashed down on the slot and was able to beat Flakne, tying up the game 1-1 going into second intermission.
The Spartans knew they had to dig a little deeper in the third period to come away with another win over the Trojans, and they did just that.
With a little over two minutes left, senior Trip Renard found Will LeNeave joining the rush. LeNeave set up Will Dittrich, who hammered it top shelf, back door on a water bottle shot, bringing home the win for the Spartans, 2-1.
Dittrich also scored the only two goals in the previous game against the Trojans. When asked about his record against New Prague, Will responded, “for some reason I have good games against them. They are a good team and it’s great to score against a good team, especially game winners.”
The Spartans then faced the Mound Westonka White Hawks on Jan. 30 for a rematch at Orono Ice Arena. The Spartans had already beat Mound 5-1 at Thaler, and they were eager to come away with another win.
The puck dropped and both teams looked lethargic. There were battles fought at both ends of the ice, but neither team could break through.
The score was a couple of goose eggs going into the second period, but the Spartans came out with vengeance and fury in their strides.
First up, sophomore forward Dylan Sande found sophomore Revis Stephenson with a beautiful set up. Stephenson dumped it off to LeNeave, who bombed a monster of a shot.
The puck hit the net so hard it ricocheted back out as quickly as it went in. After official review, Orono was on top 1-0.
Within a minute, Luedtke and sophomore Mark Willson set up Dittrich for his 12th goal of the season. The Spartans were just gearing up; shortly thereafter, Dittrich and Renard set up Luedtke, putting Orono up 3-0.
The White Hawks were able to slip one in to bring the game to 3-1, but again Orono answered back. Senior Logan Kinsel set up LeNeave, and LeNeave hammered it in again to bring the score 4-1 going into the second intermission.
During the third period, Orono found themselves with the man advantage and were able to find the twine with another goal. From behind the net, Stephenson passed to Dittrich; Dittrich held on just long enough to dump it to Luedtke, who buried it and brought the score to 5-1.
Minutes later, seniors Ryan Baskfield and Leneave worked it to Junior David McCuskey, who tacked on yet another goal.
With less then two minutes of play left, Mound took advantage of a power play to bring the game to 6-2, but ultimately the Spartans had the final say. Kinsel rounded out the scoring, 7-2, with a beauty from Baskfield and junior Riley Vieth.
The Orono Spartans are now 12-8-1 heading into the week of Feb. 2. They face Hutchinson at Hutchinson on Tuesday, Feb. 3.
Friday, Feb. 6 is senior night for Orono, and they play Waconia. Senior night festivities will take place during the first intermission, with puck drop at 7 p.m.
Senior Alex Sellers patiently waits to set up the breakout in the Spartans’ game against New Prague. (Photo credit Cindy Flakne)
Sophomore Drew Eiss takes a shot on net during the Mound/ Westonka game. (Photo credit Cindy Flakne)