The Rhinelander High School boys' hockey team struggled with penalties Saturday night, and Antigo took advantage scoring five powerplay goals to win the third place game in the Great Northern Conference tournament. The Robins scored three goals alone during a five-minute major call in the third as Antigo cruised to a 5-1 victory at the Langlade County Multi-Purpose Building.
Although RHS finished ahead of the Robins in the regular season standings, the two teams tied for third in the GNC after the results of the conference tournament.
All six of the goals scored on Saturday night were off powerplays. Rhinelander started the scoring off at 6:23 on a powerplay goal from Danny Zuiker that gave the Hodags an early 1-0 lead. Abe Laggis and Conor Pequet were credited with the assist in Rhinelander's lone goal of the night.
But Antigo responded and tied the game up about 4 1/2 minutes later. Frank Volpentesta put the Robins on an assist from Isaac Wickersheim and CJ Levis.b Antigo took the lead at 5:02 in the second and never looked back.
Hodag penalties took their toll in the third period. Only 1:13 into the third senior Freddy Wisner was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, a two-minute minor. And just over a minute later Zuiker was the officials changed from a minor to a five-minute major for head contact.
The Robins scored a pair of goals after the major penalty in the first 22 seconds. First Chris Krueger connected from the point just nine seconds into the powerplay. And teammate Dylan Lewis followed just 13 seconds after to put Antigo up 4-1. Wickersheim added an extra goal for the Robins with 17 seconds left in the major for their final goal of the night.
On the night Rhinelander had 10 infractions for 31 minutes while Antigo had 5 penalties for 10 minutes. The Hodag’s penalty kill which has been one of their strengths this season proved to cause issues in their three-game losing streak.
Antigo outshot the Hodags 31-19 overall on the night including a 14-3 advantage in the third period. Goalie Seth Stafford finished with 26 saves in the loss. Robin goalie Broden Bunnell charted 18 saves on the night.
The Hodags will have their final regular season home game tomorrow when they host East/Merrill. Rhinelander will then have road games at Lakeland and Kingsford to close out the week.
Along with the GNC tournament they also released the all-conference boys' hockey team, which is voted by the coaches. Laggis earned first-team all conference and senior Sam Tjugum earned honorable mention defenseman.
The Rhinelander High School boys' hockey team went 2-0 in their home Holiday Tournament to finish first place out of four teams. The Hodags defeated Baraboo/Portage 4-1 on Friday night at the Rhinelander Ice Arena and would win the championship game on Saturday also 4-1 over Sheboygan.
Rhinelander started the night out strong against the Thunderbirds and would build an 2-0 advantage in the first period after a late push. RHS would hold an 18-6 lead on shots in the first. Senior Freddy Wisner put the Hodags on the board after scoring at 10:38 just after a cross-checking penalty from Baraboo/Portage expired. Juniors Abe Laggis and Danny Zuiker were credited with assists to put Rhinelander up 1-0.
And just 17 seconds into a power play at 16:03 in the first sophomore Conor Pequet would put the Hodags up 2-0 on an assist from Wisner and sophomore Harlan Wojtusik. And Rhinelander would need that early edge after the Thunderbirds controlled the tempo in the second and pulled back with a goal.
Baraboo/Portage would outshoot RHS 17-2 in the second period. Rhinelander's defense killed off a 5-on-3 power play but gave up a goal in the final second before the end of the second period. Mike Wech put one past goalie Seth Stafford at 16:59 to give the Thunderbirds late momentum.
The Hodags were lucky to have Laggis back in the lineup after sustaining a knee injury the previous week against Waupaca. Laggis charted an early assist in the contest and would score at 10:16 in the third to give put Rhinelander ahead by two goals again.
With only 1:19 remaining in the contest, senior Bridger Flory recorded an empty netter to account for the Hodags' final goal and gave RHS a three-goal victory.
On the night, Rhinelander held a 33-29 edge on shots. Stafford earned the win with 28 saves as the Hodags advanced to Saturday’s championship match against Sheboygan where they also won 4-1 after taking advantage three power-play goals to finish first in the four-team tournament.
Zuiker scored Rhinelander's first goal and last goal in the championship game, both on power-plays. The first was at 11:55 in the first period on an assist from Laggis after Zach Tuzinkewich was called for slashing. RHS held a 8-7 edge on shots in the first.
Senior Sam Tjugum would put Rhinelander ahead 2-0 after scoring at 5:26 in the second period. But the goal advantage wouldn't last long as the Red Raiders scored at 13:04. Bennet Dale scored to pulled Sheboygan within one, but proved to be their only goal despite both teams recording 11 shots in the second period.
Rhinelander would add a pair of insurance goals in the third period to secure the three-goal victory. Wisner scored on a powerplay at 7:09 on an assist fro Laggis. And Zuiker added his second power-play goal at 10:29 on an assist from Laggis and Wojtusik.
Stafford would finish with 27 saves for the Hodags. And Rhinelander held a slight 30-28 edge on total shots. RHS advanced to 8-4-0 overall this season and will be back in action on Thursday when they travel to Stevens Point to take on Pacelli.
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