Rhinelander, welcome to the Great Northern Conference.
The Waupaca Comet hockey team improved to 5-0 Saturday, Dec. 4, with a 13-1 over the Hodags at the Waupaca Expo Center. The win, along with a 4-3 overtime win over Antigo in the GNC opener and a 5-1 victory at Wisconsin Rapids, means the Comets are off to a 5-0 start this season, including a 2-0 start in conference play.
Waupaca 13, Rhinelander 1
The Hodags joined the GNC this season and were coming off of a 7-0 conference loss to Mosinee.
Things didn’t go any better for Rhinelander at the Waupaca Expo Center, as the Comets scored seven times in the first period and three times in the second and third periods.
Brad Navin added to his offensive statistics with four goals and an assist, while Beau Ash added two goals and two assists; Bjorn Asher and Tyler Donaldson had a goal and two assists; Marcus Johnson had three assists; Caleb Kiesow, Jim Minton and Jared Erickson had a goal and an assist; Sam Menzies had two assists; Eli Coenen and Ryan Thern scored once; and Jordan Erickson and Natasha Smith chipped in with an assist each.
Almost half of Waupaca’s shots ended up in the net, as the Comets outshot the Hodags 27-19.
Waupaca 4, Antigo 3 (OT)
Navin’s goal at the 1:08 mark in overtime gave the Comets the win.
The Comets overcame a 3-1 deficit in the third period on goals from Jordan Erickson and Donaldson to tie the game. Asher added a first-period goal for Waupaca.
Navin’s game-winning shot came on a breakaway.
“I was watching him and I said to (assistant coach) Jim Ash, ‘We’re going to win this hockey game,'” coach Randy Flesch said. “He’s going to win hockey games. There’s no doubt about it.”
The Red Robins held their own against the Comets for most of the game and led 2-1 heading into the second period and 3-1 heading into the third.
“I said, ‘Here we go again, we’ve got to win the ugly way,'” Flesch said. “They plain outworked us in the first period and second period.”
Zach Martin stopped 19 shots for the Comets.
Waupaca 5, Wisconsin Rapids 1
Logan Zimmerman gave the Raiders an early lead, but Waupaca shut the home team out the rest of the way.
Asher tied the game later in the first period and added an unassisted goal in the second period, while Navin scored once in the second and once in the third and Jared Erickson also had a goal.
Navin, Ash, Smith and Cooper Flesch had assists.
Waupaca hosted Ashwaubenon in a nonconference matchup Tuesday, Dec. 7, and will return to GNC play at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, as the Comets head north to Eagle River to take on Northland Pines. Waupaca will also host Medford at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 16.