Boys hockey: Raiders beat Wolfpack, 5-3
One game was a loss. One game was a win. But for the Hastings boys hockey team, both games are being considered big successes.
Hastings beat Park on Saturday, 5-3. Obviously, any time Hastings beats Park it's a nice win.
The loss, though, was even full of good news. It came against Cretin-Derham Hall, one of the state's top teams. They were ranked as high as No. 9 a few weeks ago.
Hastings scored one goal in first period and another early in the second to take a 2-0 lead.
"We played probably our best period of hockey in the first period," Hastings coach Russ Welch said. "We held them to five shots, were ahead and were playing very well."
Tate Sykes scored the goal, his first varsity goal, in the first period. He was assisted by Ryan Bussey and Michael Rother.
In the second period, at 2:10, it was again Sykes. This time he was assisted by John Klein and Max Fox.
After that second goal by Hastings, Cretin turned things around. They scored at 3:36 and at 8:00 to tie the score.
In the third period, Cretin scored three more times before Hastings was able to answer. The first two goals came right away in the third at 1:42 and 2:37.
"We didn't play very well in the second period, but we were still only down 3-2," Welch said. "We just needed to pick it up a notch. When they came out in the third period and scored two, that kind of deflated us."
Fox scored Hastings' third goal at 16:08, assisted by Rother.
Mike Porrez played in goal for Hastings. He made 31 saves.
Hastings now returns home for nine straight games here.
The original schedule didn't have this scenario, but a few games were moved here and there to accommodate some conflicts with arenas, and Hastings ended up with nine straight here.
Two of those games are over the next few days. Hastings plays host to Forest Lake tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 pm.
On Saturday, the Raiders play at 3 p.m. against Stillwater.
"Those two teams are just ahead of us for fourth place in the conference," Welch said. "This week's games are going to be critical in the conference standings. We could, with a couple wins, move all the way up to fourth in the conference. With a couple losses, we could move all the way down to eighth."
Hastings scored three second-period goals to help get past Park of Cottage Grove on Saturday, 5-3.
Hastings goals were scored by Bussey, Cole Claussen, Brock Johnson, Joe Lodemeier and Rother. Assists were made by Cody Block (2), Sykes, Eric Kasel, Nate Flynn and Austin Nelson.
Tom Sieh played in goal and earned the win. He made 26 saves.
Hastings has a 6-7 record on the season.