By Cole Walters
February 10, 2018
Wisconsin Rapids– Wisconsin Rapids hockey was hosting their home tournament for a weekend on February 9th and 10th, and on Saturday the 10th the Raiders welcomed in Monona Grove to finish out their regular season. After a slow start to the 1st period, Wisconsin Rapids was able to pull away from Monona Grove with a 3-goal third period that lead to a 4-1 victory for the Raiders.
In the first period of the game, Wisconsin Rapids struggled to muster any offense as they were only able to get 4 shots on sophomore goalie Andrew Gilbertson.
Monona Grove was able to strike first in the game as with 6:45 remaining in the first period, junior forward Tanner Smith was able to score and was assisted by senior forward Matthew Priebusch. The end of the first period saw Monona Grove take a 1-0 lead.
Head Coach Pat McDonald discussed after the game about the first period, as he said “We started very slow, not a good first period. We will need to fix that come our playoff game next Thursday.”
The Raiders were finally able to solve Gilberston late in the second period, as senior forward Nick Campbell saw a cutting junior forward Spencer Sparks up the middle with a 2-on-1 opportunity and Sparks was able to put his shot over the goalies’ shoulder to tie the game at 1 with 1:09 remaining in the period. The score would be tied at 1 after two periods of play in the game.
When the third period started, Wisconsin Rapids looked like a different team as they came out firing. The Raiders started fast with a power-play goal just 34 seconds into the third period as junior forward Colton Flammini put the Raiders up 2-1.
The Raiders would extend their lead with 6:50 remaining in the game, but not without a little bit of controversy. Senior forward Nick Campbell appeared to put a shot over Gibertson’s shoulder for a goal that clanked off the goal pipe and appeared to hit the net inside of the goal. The initial call on the ice was no goal, but after discussion the call was overturned and the Raiders went up 3-1.
Nick Campbell was confused at first about the call, as he said “The goal appeared to go in from my eyes, thankfully the refs were able to talk about it and change the call.”
The Raiders were able to get an open-net goal with 1:33 remaining in the game from junior forward Spencer Sparks to finish the scoring for the day and put Rapids up 4-1.
Head coach Pat McDonald said after the game, “The win gives us momentum come playoff time. Need to work on our power-play offense during the week, but feels good to finally get a win in our home tournament.”
Nick Campbell touched on the playoffs coming up, as he said “As long as we prepare before our game Thursday and come out with a fast start to the game, we have a chance to pull one off on the road.”
The Raiders closed the regular season out with a 13-11 record, and will now travel to D.C. Everest on Thursday for a regional final playoff game with puck drop set for 7:00 P.M.