Lumberjacks Slip Past Hodags 3-2
Sometimes a lucky break is a fickle thing. The Hodags thought that their hard work had given them a lucky break in the form of a mishandled shot to tie the game. Unfortunately for Rhinelander another lucky break was awarded to Wausau East in the form of a last second penalty kick that won the game.
The tightly contested match started off well for Rhinelander as junior midfielder Joe Heck redirected a beautiful crossing pass from junior Hugh Wiese to the right side of the goal cage at the 15 min. mark of the first half. This was officially the first goal to be scored on the Hodag's brand-new field turf at Mike Webster stadium. Ground crews had worked late into the night on Friday preparing the new field for Saturday's four team tournament. "It was so much fun to celebrate that goal with the team. Hugh fed me a beautiful pass that I was able to put my head on. The field is so nice and fast, it's great playing on the surface that is free from dips, ruts and holes" said Heck.
The Hodag's lead was short-lived however as the Lumberjacks were awarded a penalty kick just a minute and 15 seconds later. Wausau East junior Carter Cygan slipped a lower right side shot past Rhinelander keeper Gavin Ostermann to tie the game at 1-1. Thirty minutes later the Lumberjacks took a 2-1 lead on a shot that rebounded off a Hodag defender. After that goal both teams exchanged scoring opportunities until the end of the first half.
At the start of the second half ,the Hodag's continued to create scoring opportunities as a result of a huge swing of momentum." We dropped Joe Heck and Daniel Ritchie back to a more defensive position which I think gave us a more positive push up the field" said Coach Bates. Rhinelander got their first big break in the game when a shot by junior Jacob Ostrander was mishandled by the Wausau East goalkeeper that slowly trickled over the goal line. That tying goal at the 75th minute mark sparked a furious back-and-forth offensive exchange.
As luck would have it Wausau East would get their big break of the match in the form of a controversial penalty kick awarded to them in the last seconds of the final half. At the time of the call the scoreboard read 80 min. 16 seconds. That clock was unofficial however and the Lumberjacks delivered the winning blow with a penalty kick to the lower right-hand corner of the Rhinelander goal cage.
"The guys played tough today, we had a few unlucky breaks. Wausau East always has a talented team. We started out a little slow the first half but really stepped it up in the second half. I'm proud of the guys today" said Coach Bates.
In Rhinelander's second game of the tournament they were defeated by Waupaca 4-1.
The Hodag's next match is against Northland Pines on Tuesday September 4 at five o'clock in Eagle River.