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Lakeland Hawk Bantams finish fourth at state

April 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore


The Lakeland Hawk Bantams played three crazy games en route to a fourth place finish at the WAHA State Hockey Championships.

The Hawks started with a 7-4 win over Black River Falls in the first game. Moving onto the semis, they fell to Tomah 3-0. In the third place game, Rhinelander won 4-3 over the Hawks in overtime.


Black River Falls

“It was a huge focus of the weekend just to make sure we get that first win and put ourselves on the right side of the bracket,” coach Charlie DePuydt said.

A tough start forced the Hawks in some adverse situations. Black River Falls took a quick 2-0 lead with just a couple of shots.

“One, two minutes in the game, the score was 2-0. Yes their first and second shot went in,” coach DePuydt said.

That forced a goalie change. Coach DePuydt put in Andrew Maulson, who finished the rest of the game and made some clutch saves.

“(Andrew) made some key stops throughout the game especially in the third period up 5-4 at that time a huge stop and we got a late goal to ensure the win,” he said.

Offensively, the Hawks got a boost from Mike Maillette, who responded with the game’s next three goals. 

“Mike Maillette scored the next three goals right away,” coach DePuydt said. “We went up 3-2. It was a goofy start to say the least.”

In total, the Hawks took 60 shots in the game, putting pressure on Black River Falls.


Tomah

Even though there wasn’t as much depth, Tomah played their game plan to perfection to get the win. In the goal, Keegan Boggetto made some early saves to keep the Hawks in the game. 

“Tomah was deceivingly really good. They were small, had a short bench,” coach DePuydt said.

One of the first real good looks for the Hawks came when Maillette and Grayson Wagner made a run at the net. Then, Jack Rubo went one-on-one with Tomah’s goalie, but his shot went high.

Under five minutes to go in the first period, Rubo took a shot and got a chance at the rebound, but was smothered by the Tomah goalie.

With 3:35 left in the period, Tomah got called for a penalty. That did not phase them as they ended up scoring a shorthanded goal with 2:38 left. Tomah killed the penalty and went up 1-0 after a period.

“One thing they did well and prior to championship game that I told their coach — ‘you guys do a really good job of slowing the play down,’” coach DePuydt said. “They did an excellent job of maintaining position of the puck, not turning the puck over, not allowing it to be a track meet.”

Late in the second period, Tomah scored their second goal of the game to go up 2-0. 

Coming back to the third period, it looked like the Hawks had their first goal of the game, but it was called off due to a player falling on the ice.

“Frustrating on our end to have a goal taken back,” coach DePuydt said. “I don’t know if our kids would have been able to comeback down 2-1 and won 3-2 — I don’t know. All I know is that kind of took the wind out of our sails a bit.”

As the score remained at 2-0, Tomah went on a power play. They put the game away with their third goal of the game with 6:14 to go. 

Rhinelander

The third place game against Rhinelander quickly became a roller coaster ride.

“I feel it was totally lopsided penalty-wise. We faced a lot of adversity in that game and was almost able to pull it off,” coach DePuydt said.

Early on it was all Hawks. They took a 3-0 lead after the first period thanks to goals by Rubo and Taylor Heleniak. Rubo’s goal was assisted by Maillette and Heleniak’s second goal by Kort Meyer.

“Our gap is closed in terms of how bad we’ve lost to them two years ago, to us going 2-1-1 throughout the season against them,” coach DePuydt said.

The second period was all about penalties. First, goalie Boggetto came out to make a nice save and preserve the score at 3-0. He totaled 52 saves.

Just a few moments after that, Rhinelander got on the board with a goal from Joey Belanger, assisted by Caleb Dickens. The score was 3-1.

Maillette almost had a look at a goal, shooting it right off of a face-off. It was cleared by Rhinelander.

Then the penalties started to add up. First, Madi DePuydt got called for a penalty and two minutes in the box.

“I think that’s tough, tough to swallow for our kids,” coach DePuydt said.

Rhinelander took advantage with severals shots on goal, one that was snagged out of mid-air by Boggetto.

Ultimately, Lakeland killed the penalty. A few minutes later, Belanger scored one in one a rebound to make the score 3-2. Slowly, but surely, the Hodags were coming back.

Now the Hodags’ Dalton Fritz got called for a penalty for tripping. That power play sparked the Hawks to make a run at goal, punched in by Rubo on a rebound. But the goal was called off because of a holding penalty on Maillette. Coach DePuydt disputed the goal and was ultimately ejected because of it.

“I really don’t know what the official saw on that play that led to them saying Mikey was holding the other player,” he said. “That was kind of what set me off was that was the second game in a row (a goal got called back) after the whistle. If it was a penalty, it should have blown dead (right away).”

All in all, there were two bench misconducts called on Lakeland. Rhinelander ended up having a four-three player advantage on the ice for a little bit. 

Lakeland killed the penalties and then Rubo and Meyer made a run at the goal. There were rebound opportunities, but no goals were scored.

After two periods, Lakeland still led 3-2.

Two minutes in, Lakeland snuffed out a good chance at Rhinelander scoring a goal. The Hodags controlled the puck for much of the third period and were seeking a tie.

With just 48.3 seconds left, Boggetto got called for a penalty. Brent Olson served the penalty for him. Rhinelander pulled their goalie and had a six-on-four player advantage on the ice. Two separate times, the Hawks just missed an empty net goal that would have given them the sure win.

Instead, with six seconds left, the Hodags won a faceoff and found a way to get the puck to the net and eventually past Boggetto to tie the game at 3-3 with just 1.6 seconds left. The goal went to Finn Tulowitzky, assisted by Belanger and Sam Schneider.

After arguing the goal, Boggetto ended up getting a penalty on him, served out by Scott Loewe. It was the Hawks’ 18th penalty against them. Now in overtime, both teams had eight minutes to score a goal. A sudden death overtime, the first to score would win.

“When it was five-on-five hockey we went up 3-0,” coach DePuydt said. “Eighteen penalties on the game was our most penalties in a game.” 

Because Rhinelander started on a power play, it didn’t take long before they scored. Just 24 seconds into overtime, Belanger went one-on-one with Boggetto and shot it past him for the 4-3 win. It was Belanger’s third goal of the game.

“They were absolutely devastated,” coach DePuydt said.

Even though it was a frustrating end, there were still positives on the Lakeland end.

“I really think this team really came together and strung together some nice games, played for their coaches and I think thats what it’s about,” coach DePuydt said. “I’m happy, very happy with where we’ve came.”

Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]


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