Hastings getting things turned around, have gone 2-0-2 in last four gamesThe Hastings boys hockey team has gone 2-0-2 in its last four games to improve its record to 5-6-2 on the season. While Hastings coach Russ Welch isn’t thrilled with the record, he is happy to see his team is getting better every day.
By: Chad Richardson, The Hastings Star-Gazette
The Hastings boys hockey team has gone 2-0-2 in its last four games to improve its record to 5-6-2 on the season. While Hastings coach Russ Welch isn’t thrilled with the record, he is happy to see his team is getting better every day.
“We feel fairly good right now,” Welch said. “What I do like is that we’re making progress. We’re getting better – that’s the biggest thing.”
One of those wins came Saturday against North St. Paul. Hastings dominated, winning 6-2 over the Polars. That said, Hastings held a slim 1-0 lead at the first intermission thanks to a goal by Nate Flynn, assisted by Tate Sykes. Hastings struggled defensively, but goalkeeper Connor Thomas came up big in the nets, Welch said.
“We had some difficulties in our own end, but Connor had a very good night for us,” Welch said. “We were having trouble in the defensive zone down low. We just didn’t body up well enough. They kept walking to the net. Connor came up big for us.”
In the second period, Hastings took charge, scoring three goals. Those three goals were scored after the Polars tied the score at 2:01 of the second period.
Mark Huneke put Hastings back on top with a goal at 8:45, assisted by Flynn and Bailey Siewert.
Siewert then added a goal at 16:04, assisted by Bussey and Matt Koch.
At 16:21, Hastings went up 4-1 thanks to a goal by Jake Caneff, assisted by Zach Mellick and Koch.
“We played very well in the second period,” Welch said.
In the third period, Zach Mellick scored at 5:11, assisted by Colin Shoen and Eric McCarthy, to put the Raiders up 5-1. After a North St. Paul goal a minute later, Hastings added the final score of the night when Bussey notched a goal, assisted by Koch and Zach Mellick.
Welch was especially encouraged that six different players had goals in the game.
“We were very good offensively,” he said. “First of all, for us to score six goals is unusual. To have six different guys score is even better. It was a lot of fun for the kids. Quite a few guys got in on it.”
Thomas ended up making 29 saves on 31 shots.
On Saturday, the Hastings junior varsity and varsity teams will be playing at a special event at the Cottage Grove Ice Arena. All week long, the Hastings teams are working hard to raise money for Coaches Helping Eliminate Cancer in Kids (CHECK). Teams from Hastings are trying to raise at least $1,000, and there is a special incentive for raising money.
The varsity boys play against White Bear Lake at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. If Hastings can raise more money than White Bear Lake, the WBL coach has to wear a Hastings jersey during the first period.
Team members and coaches are soliciting donations this week. Anyone seeking to donate to the cause can give their donations to a member of the team, a coach or a parent. Donations can be made in person at Thursday night’s home game against Forest Lake, which begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Civic Arena.
The Park and Woodbury teams have taken part in the fundraiser for the past four years and have raised $10,000. This year, the goal for the fundraiser is to raise an additional $10,000, which would be $1,000 per team.
Hastings settled for a 3-3 tie in a wild Suburban East Conference matchup against Cretin-Derham Hall on Thursday, Jan. 5.
Hastings held a 3-1 lead in the third period, then took a five-minute major penalty and had to play one skater down. Hastings was able to kill off the penalty, and prospects looked good for another win.
With just under four minutes left, though, C-DH notched a short-handed goal to make the score 3-2.
Then, with just more than a minute to play, Cretin added a disputed goal that eventually counted, tying the score 3-3.
The game went into overtime and it looked as though the game was going to end in the tie, but with 16 seconds left C-DH was awarded a penalty shot. Hastings goalie Lenny Weiss came up big, Welch said, and stopped the shot to preserve the tie.
“We weren’t happy to blow a two-goal lead with less than four minutes to play in the game,” Welch said, “but with all those circumstances considered, we were happy to tie with them.”
Flynn had two goals for Hastings. He was assisted by Shoen on the first and by Siewert and Huneke on the second. Huneke had a short-handed goal in the second period.
Weiss faced 24 shots and made 21 saves.