Special teams lift ECM over Raider skaters
Eau Claire Memorial scored five unanswered goals Thursday night to hand the Raider boys hockey team a 6-1 setback in the Big Rivers Conference opener for both teams at John Gornick Arena.
Three of the Old Abes' six goals were shorthanded while another came on a power play. The loss gave the Raiders a 0-1 start to the season while Eau Claire Memorial improved to 2-1, 1-0 in the BRC.
Raider head coach Mike Stoskopf said the loss was disappointing, but credited the three-time defending conference champion Old Abes with taking advantage of their opportunities.
"It was disappointing because we gave up three shorthanded goals," Stoskopf said. "I give Eau Claire Memorial credit; they made the most of their chances."
The Old Abes took a 1-0 lead on a shorthanded goal by Neil Klingensmith at the 10:10 mark of the first period. Evan Zik knotted the score at 1-1 at the 3:10 mark of the second, assisted by Zach Beinlich and Adam Dardine, but Memorial got a power play goal by Shayne McLaughlin and an even strength goal by Klingensmith to take a 3-1 lead after two.
The third period was all Memorial as Brady Berzynski and Klingensmith scored shorthanded goals 38 seconds apart around the seven minute mark and Mike Novacek tallied an even-strength goal with just over five minutes remaining to make the final 6-1.
Raider goaltender Matt Strachota finished with 20 saves in the game as the Old Abes outshot the Raiders, 26-20. Both teams were whistled for four minor penalties.
After hosting New Richmond Tuesday night, Dec. 8, the Raiders will return to BRC action at home against Menomonie Thursday, Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. (Post press time note: The contest against New Richmond resulted in a second loss for the Raiders by a score of 4-3.)
"We will continue to work on taking care of the puck in our own end, and hopefully we can improve the results," Stoskopf said.