Hat trick lifts Comets
Waupaca defeats Lakeland
By Greg Seubert
It was a case of good news, bad news for the Waupaca boys’ hockey team.
The good news is the Waupaca Comets handed the Lakeland Thunderbirds a 5-3 defeat Jan. 20 at the Waupaca Ice & Expo Center.
The bad news is the win came the day after Waupaca came out on the short end of a 9-1 loss to Northland Pines.
Waupaca 5, Lakeland 3
The Thunderbirds had no answer for Jack Menzies, who scored three of the Comets’ five goals and added an assist.
Menzies opened the scoring 7:11 into the game off of an assist from Davis Levine and added an unassisted power-play goal less than a minute later.
Lakeland’s Max Toijala cut the lead in half with an unassisted goal with 9:37 to go in the second period, but Menzies completed his hat trick five minutes later off of an assist from Mitchell Trzebiatowski.
The score remained 4-1 until Jack Erspamer scored an unassisted goal with 10:27 remaining in the game.
Lakeland made it interesting with two power-play goals in a 25-second span from Bret Benson and Kyle Schaub with just over six minutes later, but Cody Rasmussen gave the Comets a two-goal lead with 5:25 to go off of an assist from Menzies.
Waupaca outshot Lakeland 48-24.
“After playing Northland Pines the night before, we were used to a pace that (Lakeland) couldn’t bring,” coach John Erspamer said. “I think that actually helped us.”
He said the Comets showed up ready to play less than 24 hours after giving up nine goals to the Eagles.
“I didn’t anticipate them coming out with any emotional baggage,” he said. “It was clear to see (Pines) was the better team. There’s no reason to be upset, no reason to dwell on that. I told them, ‘Let’s protect home ice, let’s give our crowd something fun to cheer about.’”
Northland Pines 9, Waupaca 1
Rasmussen scored the Comets’ only goal in the first period, but the Eagles had already found the net four times.
Sammy Spencer, Gunnar Schiffmann and Harmon Marien scored twice for the Eagles and Brady Snedden added three assists.
Northland Pines outshot the Comets 46-14, with 28 of the Eagles’ shots coming in the first two periods.
The Comets will host Antigo at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, before heading to Medford Tuesday, Jan. 30, to face the Raiders.