Wildcats earn victory against Waseca
This season’s path for the Dodge County boys hockey team has been one that has strived to see improvement throughout the season. While those improvements seem to be spaced out , there have been times where the Wildcats have put everything together.
One of those moments came on Jan. 19 when the Wildcats traveled to Waseca and defeated the Blue Jays 3-2.
“This was a nerve wracking game,” Dodge County co-head coach Chris Ernest admitted. “The boys are tired of losing and they buckled down. It was great to come away with a win there.”
The game started off on a sour note for Dodge County when Thomas Stroda scored his fourth goal of the season from Spencer Heitkamp to give Waseca an early 1-0 lead. However, the Wildcats didn’t keep their head down for long as Max Blaisdell scored his eighth goal of the season after Richard Volkmer went to the penalty box for kneeling to tie the game at 1.
Ethan Strunk would make sure the Wildcats would go into the locker room with a lead at 15:50 of the first period when he scored of a feed from Daytin Freerksen for his fifth goal of the year to put Dodge County ahead 2-1.
“We played pretty well in the first period,” Ernest recalled. “They were able to score first, but we scored the next two. We did a lot of standing around in the second period, though, and they were able to tie it.”
The second period was a defensive battle for both teams until Nick Rolling tied the game for Waseca with his eighth goal of the year at 13:06. Again, instead of getting down on themselves, the Wildcats fought back and at 5:04 of the third period Charlie Steinberg would score his first goal of the season for the eventual game winner as Dodge County would earn a 3-2 victory.
Although they picked up a much-needed victory over Waseca, the rest of the week was not kind to the Wildcats. Rochester Lourdes paid a visit to Dodge County on Jan. 21 and they cruised out to a 12-0 victory.
The Wildcats couldn’t get anything going against the Eagles as they were outshot 53-7 over the course of the game including 39-2 in the final two periods. To make matters worse, Dodge County spent plenty of time in the penalty box with 33 minutes off 11 infractions.
“We learned that attitude is very important,” Ernest said of the loss. “Some of our players went into the game thinking it was going to be a loss. As a result, we played poorly and it led to a huge loss.”
Dodge County needed to rebound on Saturday night against Simley, but things got off to a rough start. Although Steinberg would score his second goal of the season 39 seconds into the game, Simley would tie the game thanks to Cole Steele at 1:46.
The scoring would indicate a theme for thze first period as both teams skated up the ice with a combined 36 shots on goal. With both teams also having a steady march to the penalty box, the Spartans would stake a 5-2 lead when the smoke cleared for intermission.
The rest of the game would take on a tamer pace, but Simley would extend their lead early in the third period to 7-2 before Isaac Thoe and Matthew Shupert would score for Dodge County late to make the final margin 7-4.
“After the Lourdes game, it was back to business as usual,” Ernest lamented. “We underestimated Simley and we had a good, long and productive team meeting to talk about this and some other topics.”
Dodge County now owns a 3-16 record and hit the road for three games this week. After traveling to Fairbault on Tuesday, they’ll head to Chaska on Thursday before finishing out the week against Windom.
“It’s going to be a tough week,” Ernest said. “You have three road games and finals week at school. Hopefully, after our meeting, we are more on the same page now as a team. For the week, my message will be unusually simple, ‘Let’s get to work.’”