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Greyhounds too fast for Raiders

The Hastings boys hockey team found out, first-hand, exactly how good the state's No. 1 ranked hockey team is. On Tuesday, the Raiders faced the Duluth East Greyhounds. Duluth East won, 8-0.

"They're No. 1 for a reason," coach Russ Welch. They're very, very good."

Welch said Hastings had a couple good opportunities to score in the first period. Once they missed out on those chances, the floodgates opened.

"We were somewhat encouraged in the first period," Welch said. "We had a few good chances, and didn't score, and Duluth East took over.

"There were parts of the game I was encouraged about, and there were parts of the game I was discouraged about. It wasn't a total loss."

Vs Stillwater

Hastings earned a big win over Stillwater on Thursday, Feb. 9, 4-3.

The Raiders fell behind, 1-0, after one period. In the second period, though, Hastings tied the score just 48 seconds in when Mark Huneke hit the back of the net with the puck. He was assisted by Tate Sykes and Nate Flynn. At the 11:04 mark of the second period, Hastings went up 2-1 on a goal by Nate Flynn, assisted by Bailey Siewert and Sykes.

Just 12 seconds into the third period, Flynn scored again, this time short-handed, and Hastings held a promising 3-1 lead.

That lead vanished, though, after Stillwater goals at 2:39 and 12:11.

But, just seconds after Stillwater tied it, Hastings got the game-winner from Huneke, assisted by Flynn and Brandon Boogren.

"We moved the puck very well," Welch said. "We were good in the defensive zone and we were very, very good in our forecheck. The second period was probably our best forechecking period of the year. We just completely bottled them up in the second period. We made a lot of good decisions.

"We played extremely well throughout the game."

Lenny Weiss played in goal and got the win. He made 21 saves on 24 shots.

Vs Forest Lake

Hastings lost to Forest Lake on Saturday, 4-2.

The game looked promising at the start, with Hastings holding a 2-0 lead.

Zach Mellick scored at 10:21, assisted by Colin Shoen and Andrew Bussey. At 16:26, Boogren scored, assisted by Huneke and Flynn.

The second period, though, belong to the Rangers. They scored two goals to tie the game heading into the second intermission.

In the third period, Forest Lake added the go-ahead goal at 12:58, then an empty-netter at 16:53.

"We played very well in the first period," Welch said. "In the second period, we didn't play horribly, but we didn't play as well as we did in the first.

"In the third period, we dominated - we outshot them 17-7, and we couldn't score. We hit two pipes. We missed two breakaways. We missed an empty net. We had numerous chances to score. Even though we lost, I was very encouraged by the way we played.

"We just have to bury our chances when we get them. We had a ton of chances. We should have been up 4-2 or 5-2 before we got to the last five minutes of the period."

SEC standings

White Bear Lake is leading the conference standings with a 13-3-1 league mark. Roseville is second at 11-5-1.

Hastings is sixth with an 8-8-1 record. The Raiders have lost five close SEC games, Welch said. If the team would have won just three of those five, they'd be second in the league.

"We need to learn to win those close games," Welch said. "We've won some of them. We've done better at that this year, but a few more would have made a big difference. That's the way it is sometimes."

Hastings closes out the regular season with a game tonight (Thursday) at White Bear Lake.

The section seeding meet is planned for Sunday.