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Austin Nelson celebrates after scoring a goal early in Thursday night's game against White Bear Lake. Also pictured for Hastings is No. 16, Zach Mellick. (Star Gazette photo by Chad Richardson)

Raiders hockey gets back in the win column by beating Raptors

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The Hastings boys hockey team snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 7-9-1 on the season with an 8-5 win over East Ridge on Saturday night.

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Ask coach Russ Welch what the key point of the game was, and it won't take him long to answer: It was the second period.

Hastings scored four goals in the second and gave up just one, turning a 2-1 lead into a 6-2 drubbing going into the second intermission.

"We played extremely well in the second period and got a 6-2 lead," Welch said. "We played much better defensively in the second period. Our forwards were the key. We had guys back helping out our defensemen. We didn't give them any chances and we created quite a few chances.

"We gave up too many odd-man rushes in the first period. They had a lot of chances to score in the first period. We took those chances away in the second period."

Hastings led going into the first intermission, 2-1, thanks to a power play goal by Austin Nelson and an even-strength goal by Eric Kasel

Zach Mellick and Tate Sykes assisted Nelson on his goal.

Hastings dominated the second period, outscoring the Raptors 4-1.

Andy Riveness scored, assisted by Jake Siewert.

Matt Koch scored on the power play, assisted by Andrew Lindberg and Nate Flynn.

Nelson scored again, assisted by Flynn.

Then it was Flynn's turn, with the assist going to Nelson.

In the third period, Flynn scored again, with Nelson assisting.

The final Hastings goal came at 16:55, when Nelson scored an empty-netter.

Nelson finished with three goals and two assists.

Nelson finished the week with five goals and two assists in two games.

"He's doing everything right," Welch said. His work ethic every day in practice is unbelievable. It's the same way in the game. He's just been very, very good for us this year."

Flynn had two goals and two assists.

Hastings outshot East Ridge 28-23.

Connor Thomas got the win in goal for the Raiders, making 18 saves.

Hastings has a 5-6 record in Suburban East Conference play.

Thursday

Hastings just missed a chance to record a big upset win Thursday night against White Bear Lake.

Hastings held leads at 1-0 and 3-2, but ultimately fell to the Bears, 4-3.

"They're very good," Welch said, "but we had a chance to beat them.

With Hastings leading 3-2, the Raiders were whistled for having too many men on the ice. The Bears scored a power play goal, then later capitalized on a turnover to score what turned out to be the game-winner.

White Bear is now 9-0-1 in SEC action.

While Hastings had a chance to win the game, Welch wasn't discouraged by the result.

"I was encouraged," he said. "The kids played hard through the whole game. We played hard for three periods."

In the previous three games, Hastings had allowed 20 goals. Thursday's defensive effort against such a strong team was a welcome sight for Welch.

"We worked on our defensive coverage all week," he said. "We did much better than we had bee doing the past couple weeks."

Nelson opened the scoring for Hastings at 52 seconds of the first period, unassisted.

White Bear Lake countered with goals at 6:23 and 6:59.

In the second period, Flynn scored, assisted by Mellick and Adam Fox, at 8:46. Flynn's goal tied the game 2-2.

The assist by Fox was his first point as a varsity player.

Nelson scored at 10:25 to put the Raiders up 3-2.

White Bear tied the game in the third period at 2:16, then added what would eventually be the game-winner at 9 minutes.

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Chad Richardson
Chad Richardson is the publisher and editor at the Hastings Star Gazette. He was the general manager of the Farmington Independent and Rosemount Town Pages from 2000 to 2007. He previously worked at the Star Gazette from 1996 to 2000 as a photographer and reporter. He also worked as a photographer and writer at the Pope County Tribune in Glenwood.
(651) 319-4500
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