It was a case of good news, bad news over the weekend for the Waupaca Comet hockey team.
The good news is the Comets will open state tournament play at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the Waupaca Expo Center against Shawano after Waupaca received a No. 6 seed for the tournament.
The bad news is the team is no longer in the hunt for a Great Northern Conference championship following a 4-3 overtime loss to Lakeland Saturday, Feb. 4.
Waupaca also defeated Medford 10-2 Thursday, Feb. 2.
Lakeland 4, Waupaca 3 (OT)
Lakeland’s Jared Dern broke a 3-3 tie 1:57 into overtime to end the Comets’ chances at a possible GNC championship.
The Thunderbirds opened the game with first-period goals from Tyler Peterson, A.J. Oungst and Jack Dern.
Waupaca got on the board with Jared Erickson’s power play goal 3:54 into the second period off of assists from Bjorn Asher and Beau Ash and the Comets tied the game with a pair of goals in the third period.
Asher scored a power play goal off of an assist from Jared Erickson with 6:34 remaining and Jordan Erickson scored off of assists from Asher and Jared Erickson 36 seconds later.
Lakeland outshot the Comets 36-35.
Waupaca 10, Medford 2
Asher had a hat trick for the Comets at the Waupaca Expo Center, while Cooper Flesch and Jared Erickson found the net twice and Ash, Jordan Erickson and Garrett Johnson scored once.
Waupaca sealed the win with five unanswered goals in the third period.
“We work too hard to be playing a 5-2 game,” coach Randy Flesch said. “Not that we’re supposed to take it to them, but we worked too hard to be playing that kind of hockey. There was a little selfishness going on. We needed to move the puck to the open ice, set the zone up and play the way we have to play. Sometimes you do things against that kind of competition where you get me, me, me. We have to get away from that.”
Waupaca will wrap up the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, at home against Northland Pines. The Eagles have wrapped up the GNC championship, as they have a two-game lead on the Comets and Mosinee with one conference game remaining.
Shawano received the lowest seed – 11th – in the tournament bracket.
The winner of the Feb. 14 game will play No. 3 Green Bay United Thursday or Friday, Feb. 16-17, at the Cornerstone Community Center in Ashwaubenon for a regional championship.