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RHS: Hockey
Mosinee Blasts Depleted Hodags 10-0 In Playoff Opener
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/12/2013

     A tough 2012-13 campaign came to a close on Tuesday night for the Rhinelander High School boys’ hockey team as it lost to the Mosinee Indians 10-0 at the WIAA regional semifinal in Mosinee.

“Mosinee just played extremely well,” RHS boys’ hockey coach M.J. Laggis said. “We were on our heels from the beginning.”

The Hodags missed the presence of senior Bobby Estabrook, who missed the game with an illness, an absence that grew more noticeable as the game wore on.

“We were minus Bobby tonight,” Laggis explained. “That was really costly. We only ran three deep and that was a costly loss tonight.”

The Indians came out with its guns blazing, scoring six goals in the opening frame. Landon Stepan kicked things off for Mosinee at the 14:38 mark of the game, while Chris Tomski closed the quarter down with a well-placed strike with 10 seconds remaining.

     The Indians added another goal in the second period followed by three in the third. Hodag goalie Jake Arno sustained an injury late in the second period after a puck caromed off his helmet. He had to be replaced by Alex Littleton, who had been playing forward earlier in the game. The Hodags also lost Lucas Fix to a concussion in the second period.

“We lost Lucas Fix to a concussion early in the second and Jake was out the third period,” Laggis said. “We were really beat up. We finished the game with seven skaters. We were beat up and bruised and Mosinee really came at us.”

Laggis said Mosinee played at a breakneck pace and his short-handed Hodags struggled to keep up.

“They scored six goals in the first. They played fast and were physical and shot the puck well," Laggis said. "They scored one in the second and slowed down a little, but added three more in the third against Alex Littleton. It wasn’t a lack of effort, we were just overmatched.”

The Hodags were outshot 42-7 in the matchup. Arno made 25 saves while Littleton tacked on seven more.

Several things outside of the Hodags control seriously impacted the team’s results this year. In particular, Rhinelander (3-19-0) was constantly hobbled by injury and illness.

“We battled a lot of sickness and injury all season long,” Laggis said. “We played short-handed more often than not, and there were very few times we had our full compliment of 13 skaters on the ice. We lost Brett (Estabrook) for almost the whole year (concussion).”

Laggis acknowledged the senior leaders on his squad. Bobby Estabrook, Ben Franson, and Bryce Luebke made up part of this team’s core. Laggis spoke about each one individually and how they helped the players around them.

“Bobby didn’t play tonight and that was costly, but he was playing very well the last couple of weeks,” he said. “He played hard and physical and he was doing a lot of good things. I would have liked to see how he would have played tonight. Ben Franson has been a hustler all year for us. Game in and game out there were a lot of hockey games his energy kept us all going. Just a good leader all year long. Bryce Luebke is a kid who was a goalie through his sophomore year, but converted to forward and did nothing but improve. All three of them are really good kids and very respectful. I wish their careers could have ended on a better note.”

Laggis said the future is bright for Hodag hockey. There is a talented group of eighth graders and freshman athletes playing on bantam teams and Laggis said he is excited about the future.

“It is a little early to think about next year,” he said. “But we bring in a good group of eighth graders and freshmen who are playing bantam hockey. That group of kids is going to give us a lot more depth and we will have less odds against us. They aren’t going to be playing with 12 or 14 kids like we were. I wish it could have ended better for the seniors, but I am proud of the kids.”

Box Score:
Rhinelander at Mosinee
Tuesday, Feb. 12
Rhinelander 0 0 0 - 0
Mosinee 6 1 3 - 10
First Period: 1 L. Stepan (K. Oliva, D. Bednar) 14:38. 2, SH, J. Hrebik (W. Sprink) 6:21. 3, B. Bednar (A. Daniels, K. Oliva) 4:15. 4, J. Hrebik (J. Weinberg 3:29. 5, PP, L. Stepan (J. Hrebik, B. Pecha) 1:48. 6, C. Tomski (A. Mccarthy) 0:10.
Second Period: 7, C. Tomski (A. Daniels) 11:39.
Third Period: 8, B. Pecha (J. Hrebik, J. Weinberg) 14:11. 9, L. Stepan 13:01, 10. M. Sprink (A. Denfeld) 10:37.
Shots: Rhi-7 Mos-42
Goalies: Rhi. Arno 32 shots 25 saves, Rhi. Littleton 10 shots 7 saves, Mos. Rogers 7 shots 7 saves
Power Plays: Rhi. 0-0, Mos 1-1

Hodag Sports Library
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01/21/2015 Eagles beat Hodags in Highway 17 rivalry
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01/09/2015 Edge gets by Pines 4-1
01/04/2015 Hodags Shut Out at Home
12/28/2014 Hodagland belongs to the Northern Edge

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