Raiders have big win, bad loss
The two games played last week by the Hastings boys hockey team couldn't have been more different.
On Thursday, Hastings beat Woodbury, 7-0.
On Saturday, Hastings lost to Cretin-Derham Hall, 7-1.
Hastings is now 10-9-2 (7-7-1 in the Suburban East Conference) heading into the final few weeks of the regular season. Hastings has four games remaining, and all four are against some great competition.
Hastings plays host to Stillwater tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. The Ponies have a 9-5-2 record in the SEC and are second behind only White Bear Lake.
On Saturday, Hastings plays at Forest Lake. The Rangers are fourth in the league at 8-7.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Hastings plays host to Duluth East, the state's top-ranked team. And, to close out the regular season, Hastings plays at White Bear, atop the SEC standings at 11-3-1.
"I like this schedule - it puts us against some good teams in our last four games," coach Russ Welch said. "Hopefully that's going to help get us ready for sections."
The section tournament is now just two weeks away, set to begin Thursday, Feb. 23.
Hastings and Woodbury played a scoreless first period, and it looked like the two teams might be in for a real battle. That outlook changed in the second period, when Hastings put up four unanswered goals en route to a 7-0 win over the Royals.
Just 24 seconds in the second period, Mark Huneke scored, assisted by Nate Flynn and Bailey Siewert.
At 8:48, Zach Mellick scored, assisted by Alex Neuman and Colin Shoen.
Flynn added a goal at 15:28, assisted by Huneke and Matt Koch.
Then, with just two seconds left in the second period, Andrew Bussey got a goal, assisted by Zach Mellick.
That started an amazing run by Bussey, who scored three more goals in the game to finish with four for the game.
He added goals at 4:01, 4:08 and 12:05 of the third period. Assists were made by Flynn and Tyler Mellick.
"He put himself in a good position to score, and his linemates got him the puck," Welch said. "He got some nice, greasy goals. He was in good spots - I think he scored all four goals in a 10-foot arc around the crease. He was in good position every time and just buried the puck."
In goal, Lenny Weiss had a strong game, recording 20 saves to earn a varsity shutout.
Hastings took a 1-0 lead over Cretin-Derham Hall just 32 seconds into Saturday's game. Things looked good for Hastings.
"I thought, 'This is going to be great,'" Welch said.
From that point on, though, it was all Cretin. They went on to score three goals in the first period, then four in the third period to win, 7-1.
"Cretin outworked us," Welch said. "From the first period to the end of the game, they outworked us. We don't get outworked very often. Our teams have taken pride in, for the most part, working very hard. Cretin just outworked us. We weren't ready to play."