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Boys' skaters split in BRC

Dylan Haskins (21) send a pass to a waiting Taylor Casey (16) in front of the net in the first period of the Raiders' 6-4 loss to River Falls last Tuesday at Gornick Arena. Photo by Bob Burrows1 / 2
Hudson junior forward Mike Hommes, right, and River Falls goaltender Corbin Renslow keep their eyes on a floating puck that was deflected into the air in front of the net in the first period of the teams' Big Rivers Conference showdown at Gornick Arena last Tuesday. Renslow was able to glove the puck before Hommes could get his stick on it and the Wildcats went on to a 6-4 victory. Photo by Bob Burrows2 / 2

Two nights after a tough 6-4 loss at home to River Falls last Tuesday, Jan. 31, the Raider boys hockey team traveled to Rice Lake and knocked the Warriors out of a share of first place in the Big Rivers Conference.

James Fall had two goals and an assist as the Raiders handed Rice Lake just its second BRC loss of the season and knocked them out of a tie with Eau Claire Memorial for first place.

Hudson improved to 6-4-0 in BRC play, 9-8-1 overall and will wrap up the regular season at home this Thursday, Feb. 9, at 7 p.m. against Eau Claire North (0-10-0, 2-19-1).

After a scoreless first period last Thursday in Rice Lake, Fall put the Raiders on the board 11 seconds into the second period with assists from Dylan Haskins and Taylor Casey. The linemates hooked up again less than three minutes later when Haskins scored a power play goal, assisted by Casey and Fall, to give Hudson a 2-0 lead.

Rice Lake answered with two power play goals later in the second period to tie the score but the Raiders took the lead for good on a goal by A.J. Romanoski at the 4:30 mark of the third, assisted by August Nuutinen and Lawrence Pruitt.

Fall iced the win with his second goal of the game, an empty-netter, with 38 seconds remaining, assisted by David Kein and Pruitt.

Raider goaltender Matt Strachota finished with 19 saves as the Raiders outshot the Warriors, 37-21. Rice Lake fell to 7-2-1 in BRC play, 15-5-1 overall.

"We played about as well as we have all year," Raider head coach Mike Stoskopf said. "We had real good flow and played give-and-go hockey, which is very fun to watch. I think the guys are finding out we are a pretty decent team when we stay out of the box."

Last Tuesday at home against River Falls, the Raiders jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Daniel Tripicchio at the 7:44 mark and Casey at 13:32. Josh Dardine and Nuutinen assisted on the power play goal by Tripicchio while Haskins and Tripicchio earned assists on Casey's score.

River Falls cut the lead to 2-1 on a power play goal by Travis Mathiesen with 2:10 remaining in the first period, and tied the score on a Charlie Shafer goal at 7:29 of the second.

Pruitt netted a shorthanded goal at the 10:10 mark of the second, assisted by Kein and Tripicchio, but River Falls tied it up again two minutes later on a Kyle Hargrave tally.

The Wildcats scored a pair of power play goals in the third--the first by Kyle Hargrave at 5:02 and the second by Connor Maxwell at 10:12--to take a 5-3 lead. Haskins pulled Hudson to within one with 2:19 remaining, assisted by Tripicchio and Fall, but the Wildcats made the final 6-4 on an empty-net goal by Casey Jerry with under a minute remaining.

"Against River Falls we had many good chances and we just could not score enough," Stoskopf said. "I give River Falls credit; they worked hard and made the best of their chances."

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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