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Superior too much for Raiders skaters

Caleb Kostick (17) keeps the puck away from Superior's Jake Mergen (12) in the second period of the Raiders loss to the Spartans in New Richmond on Saturday. Photo by Jed Carlson, Superior Daily Telegram

The Hudson Raider boys' hockey team couldn't snap Superior's sectional championship string.

The Spartans scored the first five goals of the game Saturday in New Richmond on their way to their eighth straight sectional title with an 8-1 victory over Hudson. The Raiders reached the sectional final with a 3-2 win over River Falls Tuesday while the Spartans advanced with a 9-2 win over Menomonie.

Superior has now qualified for the WIAA State Hockey Championships in 32 of the tournament's 39 years, including the last eight straight. The last time Superior didn't make the state tournament was in 2001, when Hudson defeated the Spartans in the sectional title game on its way to its first state championship.

Saturday's loss to the Spartans wasn't the way the Raiders wanted their season to end, but head coach Mike Stoskopf said his players never gave up.

"The Superior game was disappointing," he said. "It seemed like we didn't get many bounces and Superior capitalized on many of their chances. I thought our kids went to the buzzer, even though they were disappointed. That was a good example of class."

The Spartans took a 3-0 first period lead and extended it to 5-0 with the first two of Pat Dalbec's four goals in the second period. The Raiders scored their only goal of the game when Taylar Zarfos scored on the power-play, assisted by Cody Johnson, at the 9:48 mark of the second to make the score 5-1.

Superior added three more goals in the third, two shorthanded, to make the final 8-1.

Garrett Patrick started in goal and played the first 23 minutes, stopping eight of the 12 shots he faced. Matt Strachota played the last 27 minutes in net and allowed four goals while making 13 saves.

Superior outshot the Raiders 29-20 and was penalized six times for 12 minutes while Hudson was whistled for just two infractions totaling four minutes.

The Raiders held River Falls to just 17 shots on goal while scoring in each period of their 3-2 win over the Wildcats in last Tuesday's sectional semifinal.

Johnson had a goal and assist in the victory and Zarfos had two assists while Patrick made 15 saves.

"We played well defensively and Garrett played awesome in the net," Stoskopf said. "Our defensemen and forwards blocked a lot of shots and won battles in the corner. It was a very fun win."

Ryan Dau scored the only goal of the first period, a power-play tally assisted by Johnson and Zarfos, four minutes in to give the Raiders a 1-0 lead.

The Wildcats answered with a gal by Dylan Dock at the 11:19 mark of the second, assisted by Danny Patrick, to tie the score. Evan Huseboe put Hudson ahead for good, 2-1, at the 14:52 mark of the second, assisted by Adam Dardine and Phil McSorley.

Johnson extended the Raiders' lead to 3-1, assisted by Zarfos and Caleb Kostick, at the 11:39 mark of the third period. The Wildcats made the final 3-2 with a goal by Ross Andersen, assisted by Jackson Rohde, later in the period.

River Falls was penalized five times for ten minutes while the Raiders were called for just two penalties for four minutes.

Stoskopf said it was a memorable season, despite ending one game short of the state tournament.

"It was a very fun year and I enjoyed this team's character, humor, work ethic and ability," he said. "We will miss our eight seniors: first team all-conference forward Cody Johnson, first team all-conference defenseman Josh Perron, second team all-conference forward Taylar Zarfos, all-conference honorable mention defenseman Caleb Kostick, forward Phil Drewiske, forward Mitch Patrick, forward Ryan Hanes and forward Mike Sarno."

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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