Riding a five-game winning streak, the Waunakee boys’ hockey team headed to River Falls over the weekend for a pair of games, hoping to maintain their momentum into the new year.
The Warriors split their two contests, falling in their opening game Friday against Somerset, but responded the next day with a resounding victory over River Falls.
At the game’s halfway point, little had gone Waunakee’s way. The Spartans – though outshot by Waunakee 18 to 16 over the course of the first two periods – found the back of the net five times compared to just one score for the Warriors.
Isaac Nett’s first-period goal was the lone Waunakee foL of the first period, and was very nearly the only goal the Warriors managed over the course of two periods. With just 39 seconds left to play in the second, Nett beat Somerset’s goalie for a second time, sparking a Waunakee comeback.
The Warriors flipped the script in the third, controlled much of the period and outshot Somerset by a 19 to 4 margin. The Spartans’ lead – once four goals – shrunk to 6-4 with seven minutes to play; after a Somerset goal to open the period, Steven Pasinato and Danny Reis each found the back of the net to pull Waunakee within two.
As the clock continued to run, however, the Warriors were turned away time and time again, unable to further cut into the lead. Somerset officially ended Waunakee’s comeback chances with 39 seconds left to play, scoring on an empty net to give the game its final score of 7-4.
Making the start in goal, Luebke recorded 13 saves in the loss.
Fortunately for the Warriors, a game the next day gave them a chance to redeem themselves.
River Falls 1
The scoring didn’t begin until the second period for the Warriors, but once it started, a wave of goals overwhelmed the Wildcats of River Falls.
Starting with another Nett goal – this time on a power play from Drew Christianson and Alex Dull – two and a half minutes into the second period, the Warriors scored three goals in four minutes to break the game wide open.
Pavel Rettig and Tyler Hoffman each scored in the next four minutes, and Rettig added his second goal of the period with a minute left before intermission. With a 4-0 lead, Waunakee continued to control the game as it went into the third period.
Nett continued his hot stretch to open the third, scoring his second and third goals of the game to record the hat trick. River Falls avoided the shutout with a goal at the 4:27 mark, but there was no doubt of the game’s eventual outcome.
After a tough experience in goal on Friday, Luebke rebounded well by saving 19 of the 20 shots sent his way on Saturday to earn the victory.
Waunakee, now 7-3-0 (3-0-0 Badger North) returns home on Thursday, Jan. 2, when they host Beaver Dam in a Badger North contest. The puck is scheduled to drop at the Ice Pond of Waunakee at 7:15 p.m.