Boys hockey team in need of clutch work
The hockey gods are not smiling on the Hastings Raiders boys team right now.
Consider these numbers as evidence:
110-76. This was the shots-on-goal advantage that Hastings held during the annual South St. Paul Premier Holiday Tournament last week.
0-2-1. This was Hastings' record during those three games.
5-5-1. This is Hastings' record on the season. The five losses? All came by one goal and two were in overtime.
35-20. Hastings has outscored its opponents by a total of 35-20 on the season.
All of these numbers are not lost on coach Russ Welch.
"We've just had an inability to put the puck in the net in critical times," he said. "We feel we should have won at least three of those five games we lost. We were the better team, but we couldn't score at the appropriate time.
"We've had five games where we've beat teams by three goals or more. It's the close games we need to work on winning. Somebody has to come through. Somebody has to step up in the clutch in tight games. Realistically, we should really be about 8-3 or 8-2-1."
Two of those one-goal losses came last week at the South St. Paul Premier Holiday Tournament.
Hastings lost to Woodbury and North St. Paul before tying St. Paul Johnson.
Woodbury and Hastings traded goals with the Royals taking the lead early in the first period at 3:48.
Austin Nelson tied the score with an unassisted goal at 7:03.
In the second period, Woodbury went back on top with a goal at 5:37.
Nate Flynn tied the game at 5:02 of the third period, assisted by Andrew Lindberg.
The game-winner was scored 25 seconds into overtime by the Royals.
The Royals won, 3-2, despite being outshot 50-28.
Connor Thomas made 25 saves in goal for the Raiders.
Hastings lost to North St. Paul in the tournament, 4-3.
North St. Paul scored two goals in the first period, including one on the power play, to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
Just 24 seconds into the second period, the Polars scored again on the power play to go up 3-0.
At 8:29 of the second, though, Zach Mellick scored, assisted by Flynn to cut the lead to 3-1.
At 2:43 of the third, Flynn scored to make it 3-2.
Another power play goal at 8:03 of the third period, though, gave the Polars a two-goal lead.
Lindberg scored at 12:44, assisted by Nelson and Flynn on the power play, but it wasn't enough.
Thomas made 20 saves on 24 shots.
Hastings outshot North, 29-24.
Hastings skated to a 1-1 tie with St. Paul Johnson.
Flynn got the Raiders on the scoreboard in the first period with a goal at 4:59.
Johnson tied the game in the second period to close out the scoring.
Hastings outshot Johnson 31-24.