Hastings Walleye win first-ever home game
The Hastings Walleye first home game at Hastings Civic Arena against the Blaine Lycans can be described by one word: spectacle.
The team and crowd were dressed in the bright blueish-purple and gold of the Walleye, which contrasted with the bright green of the turf they played on. Over 200 community members, families and youth lacrosse players gathered to watch the first-ever indoor box lacrosse game played in Hastings, where they proved to be a raucous crowd.
After the ceremonial faceoff, which was presided over by Hastings Mayor Paul Hicks, the game started fast and furious. While the scoring started off slowly, within minutes the game proved to be much more physical than the many high school hockey games played during the winter. Much more checking is allowed; it's not uncommon to see players literally flying through the air after being hit. Fights are not punished by more than a couple minutes in the penalty box.
Hastings scored first on a goal by Andrew Peterson just over six minutes into the first period and then scored again with just four minutes left on an unassisted goal by Ryan Gillard. Blaine got on the board with just over a minute left in the period, which as answered by Hastings' Aime Caines to make it 3-1. Just when the Walleye thought they would take a two goal lead going into the second period, Blaine managed to score with one second left on the clock to make it 3-2.
Hastings started each period of the game fast and scored which helped them maintain an early lead. Caines scored two more goals to start the second period but each one was answered by the Lycans to make it 5-4 Walleye. However, after giving up three straight goals to fall behind 5-4, Hastings scored four straight goals by Peterson, Seth Nogle and Caines (two) to end period. The Walleye went into the third period with an 8-5 lead.
Hastings maintained its lead with goals from Luke Johnson, Austin Dahling and one last goal from Caines to win 11-7 and tie the series at one apiece.
Co-general manager and player Caines led the Walleye with five goals, followed by Peterson with two and Johnson, Gillard, Seth Nogle and Dahling each with one. Hastings outshot Blaine 52-37 and Walleye goalie Seth Scott had 37 saves with seven goals allowed.
Hastings lost the third game at Blaine 16-14 and the Lycans now lead the series 2-1. They played one more game at Blaine on Wednesday, Aug. 30, before they return to Hastings Civic Arena on Saturday, Sept. 9, the first of three straight games at home for the Walleye.