Comets beat Mosinee, Lakeland
By Greg Seubert
Less than a week ago, the Waupaca boys’ hockey team was looking at a 4-3 record in Great Northern Conference games.
Recent wins over Mosinee and Lakeland now have the Comets in third place in the standings behind Northland Pines and Antigo.
Waupaca improved to 6-3 in conference play and 10-7 overall Jan. 23 with a 5-3 win over Mosinee at the Waupaca Ice & Expo Center. The Comets also shut out Lakeland 2-0 Jan. 21, but dropped a 9-5 nonconference decision Jan. 20 to Sun Prairie.
Waupaca 5, Mosinee 3
Mosinee took a 2-0 lead on goals from Zeth Pyan and Max Beste, but the Comets scored the game’s next five goals.
The game was delayed for a half hour after Mosinee’s Jared Jacobs went down with a hip injury less than seven minutes into the game.
Pyan scored the game’s first goal with 3:51 to go in the opening period and Beste’s goal gave the Indians a 2-0 lead with 11:23 to go in the second period.
Waupaca answered later in the period with a pair of power-play goals from Davis Levine and Cody Rasmussen. Hunter Smith gave Waupaca the lead for good with a short-handed goal with 1:44 left in the period.
Waupaca added two more goals in a 1:03 span in the third period before Mosinee added a power-play goal with 4:07 left in the game.
Waupaca 2, Lakeland 0
Eugene Pliska and Rasmussen found the net for the Comets as Waupaca outshot the Thunderbirds 49-12.
“All the games are important, but we specifically look forward to the conference games,” coach John Erspamer said. “We want to win our conference games. Our goal is to finish as high up in that conference as possible. We’ve had Antigo, (Stevens) Point, Sun Prairie, D.C. Everest. When you play those tough teams, sometimes it doesn’t feel so good when they’re in our end of the ice, but it pays off when we play conference foes.”
Sun Prairie 9, Waupaca 5
Waupaca trailed the Cardinals 5-4 early in the third period, but Sun Prairie came up with four unanswered goals.
Sun Prairie took a 1-0 lead into the second period on Dawson Gardner’s goal.
The teams combined for seven goals and nine penalties in the second period. Sun Prairie added to its lead with goals from Kyle Hagerman and Alex Kurtz, but Max Menzies and Jack Menzies cut the lead to 3-2. C.J. Harkins and Gardner scored to give the Cardinals a 5-2 lead, but Mitchell Trzebiatowski scored for Waupaca.
Jack Menzies’ second goal of the game cut Sun Prairie’s lead to 5-4, but Noah Nehmer, Kaden Brunson, Dylan Robinson and Hagerman scored to give the visitors a 9-4 lead. Max Menzies scored Waupaca’s final goal.
Sun Prairie outshot the Comets 58-24 and goalie Ryan Kacovsky made 49 saves.
“The measuring stick is we’re winning the games for the most part that we should,” Erspamer said. “We are just a step or two away. Our goaltending play has been real good all season. I wish we had a much better record, but we’re pleased where we are right now.”
Waupaca spent much of the first half of the season on the road, as only three of the Comets’ first 15 games were at the Expo.
The Comets will wrap up the regular season with four of their last five on home ice.
“With people traveling to us for the most part, we’re hoping to take advantage of home ice,” Erspamer said. “If we can do that, we’ll end up with a pretty good record.”