The Lakeland boys’ hockey team picked up where they left off with a victory in the new year on Friday, Jan. 3.
The Thunderbirds defeated non-conference Brookfield East 2-1.
“It was a low scoring defensive battle against a very good hockey team,” coach Jake Suter said.
Right off the bat in the first period, Max Toijala scored on a goal assisted by Cody Olson and Joe Beda.
That would be the only goal scored in the first period. Lakeland’s Collin Guelcher put up seven saves in the period, as did the Stars’ Malcolm Jennings.
Both teams exchanged goals in the second period. First, Victor Masayesva scored on an assist from Toijala. The combination struck again and proved to be the winning goal. The Thunderbirds led 2-0.
“It was a huge goal,” Suter said. “Max set up Vic with a great pass. (Jennings) made a great initial save on Victor’s first shot but he stuck with it and actually shot from behind the net, banking it off (Jennings) into the net. That was pretty impressive.”
Then the Thunderbirds got caught in some penalty trouble. Teag Wagner got caught for holding, which put the Stars on a power play. They took advantage of the power play with a goal from John Gatewood.
But Guelcher still had a great second period. He held the Stars to one goal and saved 16 shots. The game went to the third period as Lakeland led 2-1.
The third period was scoreless by both teams. The Thunderbirds had a couple of power play opportunities, but were thwarted by the goaltending of Malcom Jennings. He finished with 24 saves.
In contrast, the Thunderbirds did not allow the Stars to go on a power play. Guelcher ended up with eight saves in the period for a total of 31 saves.
“Collin had one of his best games of the year and gave us the chance to get the win,” Suter said.
It ended up being a grind-it-out kind of hockey game, a battle between two good teams.
“We were pretty sloppy at times, but found a way to get (a win),” Suter said. “We will watch video and learn from what we did well along as what we need to improve on.”
Their next game comes tonight at Antigo starting at 7 p.m. Coverage of that game will be in the Jan. 10 edition of The Times
Then they travel to Ashland on Thursday, Jan. 9 for a game starting at 7 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]