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Raiders fall to Park Wolfpack in first round of sections

Freshman Leo Otto handles the puck along the boards during the Raiders' sections loss to the Park Wolfpack. (Rivertown Multimedia photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 2
Senior Colin Sieh splits two defenders in Hastings' section playoff game against Park. (Rivertown Multimedia photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 2

The Hastings boys' hockey team lost Tuesday, Feb. 21, to Park of Cottage Grove for the second game in a row to end their season. The Raiders lost at Park 3-1 in the first round of section playoffs. Hastings was the No. 10 seed in section 3AA, while the Wolfpack were the seventh seed.

The Raiders knew what they faced against their familiar foe and head coach Adam Welch said that in games against Park, everything else is thrown out the window.

"It is always a tough game when it comes to Park." Welch said. "Records don't matter when we meet."

Hastings started the game strong and scored 29 seconds into the game on a goal from senior Luke Johnson, assisted by fellow senior Clay Harris. After scoring, Welch said he liked how his team played in that first period.

"I thought we played pretty well throughout the game," Welch explained. "Luke Johnson scored in the first shift and it led to us playing really well in the first period. It could have been 4-0 very easily after one (period), but we couldn't capitalize on a few chances and their goalie played really well."

The Wolfpack responded in the second period and scored two goals in the first 10 minutes to take a 2-1 lead. Welch said he thought his team played well in the second period, despite Park taking the lead, and continued that into the third until the Raiders made a mistake.

"In the third we played well, too, until about eight minutes left," Welch said. "We took a five-minute penalty, which they scored on to make it 3-1. I thought our kids played very hard right up until the end."

Hastings was unable to make the comeback and fell 3-1. Despite the loss to end their season, Welch said his team had plenty to be proud of.

"It is always tough to end the year, but I think it was a good year for us," Welch said. "We felt like as a program, we took a step forward from last year. We competed in almost every game we played and stayed together as a team. The team/family mentality was a goal of ours this year and I hope the players feel the same way as I do, that we accomplished that goal."

The Raiders were outshot 29-19, but had a narrow edge in penalty minutes. However, they were unable to convert on any of their power plays.

With the playoff loss, Hastings finished their season with an 8-18-0 overall record along with taking sixth in the Metro East Conference. The Raiders graduate 10 players: Zack Johnson, Mat Nicklay, Luke Larson, Alec Rudh, Tucker Duffy, Luke Johnson, Jake Foster, Clay Harris, Colin Sieh and Peter Meyer.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a sports reporter and general assignment reporter at the Hastings Star Gazette. He is a journalism graduate of Drake University.

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