It was a chance for the Waupaca boys’ hockey team to shake up the standings in the Great Northern Conference.
Northland Pines, however, wasn’t about to let that happen.
The Eagles handed the Comets a 4-1 defeat Jan. 5 at the Waupaca Expo Center in a matchup of the GNC’s top two teams. Pines improved to 7-0 in league play and 10-2-0 overall, while Waupaca fell to 5-2 in the GNC and 7-4-1 overall.
Waupaca also picked up an 8-1 win Jan. 3 in Medford.
Northland Pines 4, Waupaca 1
WAUPACA – The Eagles scored twice in the first two periods, outshot the Comets 39-20 and didn’t give Waupaca a lot of scoring opportunities, according to coach Dave Crisman.
“We came out hard initially in the first five minutes and probably had about three or four good opportunities to put the puck in the net,” he said. “That’s what (Pines coach) Charlie (DuPuydt) and I were just talking about. He said, ‘You had us on our heels, but you couldn’t bury it.’ It would’ve been a different hockey game from that point on.”
Noah Weber and Steven Spencer scored in the first period and Pines made it 4-0 with a pair of second-period goals from Kornely and Adam Kresl in a 37-second span.
“As the game went on, we got a little stronger and smarter,” Crisman said. “We gave up some goals that we normally don’t, but that’s going to happen throughout the year. These are the lessons that we need to learn. We need to stay after it for 51 minutes.”
Walker Smith stopped 35 of Pines’ shots on goal, while Jacob Stephan finished with 19 saves for the Eagles.
“We’re a little disappointed tonight because we knew we were facing a good hockey club here and we know we’re a good hockey team,” Crisman said.
Waupaca 8, Medford 1
MEDFORD – Although the Comets had trouble scoring against the Eagles, finding the net was a not a problem in Medford, as Waupaca scored twice in the first period, five times in the second and once in the third.
Caleb Kiesow led the way with three goals and three assists, while Ben Stone added two goals and an assist; Austin Erickson scored twice; Jared Erickson had a goal and two assists; Beau Ash had three assists; Sam Menzies had two assists; and Frankie Ellingson added one assist.
Justus Kree scored Medford’s goal. Smith finished with 20 saves as Waupaca outshot the Red Raiders 63-21.
The Comets will head to Stevens Point Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11-12, for the Sentry Classic at the K.B. Willett Arena. Waupaca will open at 5 p.m. Jan. 11 with a conference game with Mosinee before taking on Stevens Point or Green Bay United Jan. 12 at a time to be determined.
“We have to look ahead to Friday,” Crisman said. “We have Mosinee coming up and Mosinee’s going to be a battle. We have a nice week of hockey coming up.”