The Hastings Raiders boys' hockey team had their section playoffs come to end last week when the met up with the top-seeded Lakeville North Panthers. Coming off a trouncing of Dodge County, the Raiders stuck with the Panthers for just over a period before North began to gain momentum in a 6-2 Panther win. Including the section playoffs, Hastings ends the year with a record of 6-20-1.
The game was scoreless after the first period, and Hastings head coach Adam Welch said he was happy with how his team was executing on the defensive end to start the game.
"Their being the one seed and us the eighth seed, we were just trying to keep everything to the outside and not give them quality chances," he said. "We were outshot 13-3 in the first period but they did not have a ton of quality chances and that's why it was 0-0 at the end of the first."
From there, things began to snowball.
"In the second period they got a couple of quick goals through the middle and we called a timeout. We just talked to our kids about trying to get it 2-1 before the end of the period and have a chance in the third," Welch said.
Hastings was able to score a 5-on-3 goal from Jonathan Peine to make it 2-1, but before that they had a 5-on-4 where they really struggled against Lakeville North's defense. Welch said that North's diamond power-play kill really put pressure on the puck handlers and is meant to force turnovers and generate offense. It was not until the 5-on-3 that Hastings was able to take advantage.
However, North scored to end the period to make it 3-1 heading into the third. Two goals to start the third for the Panthers made it 5-1. While Hastings was able to score one more goal in the third (by Alex Foster on another power play), the deficit was just too large.
Hastings graduates nine seniors from this year's team: Jacob Greengo, Scott Tuin, Jason Williams, Tyler Buck, Morgan Sweeney, Logan Stokke, Joe and John Neuman and Derek Smith.
"They brought kind of that sacrifice, they showed the younger kids what it takes to compete at this level, the sacrifice that it takes, the hard work that it takes, those kind of things, that's what they're showing our younger kids," Welch said about the senior group.