By Bill LaTour
On Jan. 30, the Mound Westonka High School boys hockey team traveled to face off against conference rivals the Hutchinson Tigers. Similar to last week, the real question was whether the White Hawks were looking past this game in anticipation of the big rematch with No. 3 state-ranked Orono at Thaler arena on Feb. 2.
The first period saw the White Hawks outplay the host Tigers by controlling offensive zone time and outshooting the Tigers 13-7; but at the end of the period, the score was deadlocked at 1-1. The second and third periods were better periods all around for the White Hawks. They controlled offensive zone time and outshot the Tigers 28-7, only allowing the Tigers two shots on goal (SOG) in the third period. All of this produced a relatively close game on the scoreboard – a 3-1 White Hawks win – but it was a game that White Hawks were never really in threat of losing.
Game Highlights vs. Hutchinson:
- White Hawks goals by seniors Torsten Lee and Philipp Weltin and junior Ethan Fetters-Vandenheuvel
- White Hawks junior goalie Noah Coley stopped 13 of 14 SOG
Now for the rematch! Remembering back to Jan. 9, the then No. 8 state-ranked White Hawks lost to the host No. 5-ranked Orono Spartans in a tightly contested one-goal game. It was a great open ice, back-and-forth game.
On. Feb. 2, in what was widely considered a preview of the Section 2A championship game, the No. 4 state-ranked White Hawks matched up against the No. 3 state-ranked Spartans. This game could be summed up in one word: penalties. Back in January in Orono, the teams combined for 14 total minutes in penalties. On Friday at Thaler arena, the two teams combined for 78 minutes of penalties, including two major penalties, two misconduct penalties and two players ejected for fighting. It is safe to say that spirits and tempers were sky high for this game.
Penalties aside, the over-capacity crowd inside Thaler Arena was treated to a highly entertaining hockey game. The Spartans stormed out of the gate with a goal only 28 seconds into the game. They would add another to go up 2-0 at the end of the first period.
The second period was very evenly played with a lot of up and down the ice hockey, producing scoring chances for both teams. After two periods of hockey, the score remained 2-0.
The third period was also very even. The White Hawks found the back of the net twice to make the score 3-2 in favor of the Spartans with under three minutes left in the game, and many were excited about the possibility of overtime. However, Orono notched the next goal for the 4-2 win.
This game certainly lived up to the section championship preview. The White Hawks hope that the potential third meeting between the highly-ranked teams will end in their favor and with a trip to the state tournament. Time will tell, but as they say, “That’s why you play the game!”
Game Highlights vs. Orono:
- White Hawks goals by senior Hank Nagel and junior Carter Hansen
- White Hawks outshot the Tigers 33-32
The JV team matched the varsity by beating Hutchinson but losing a close game to Orono.