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Lakeland Hawk Pee Wees set out on state trip

April 17, 2020 by Brett LaBore

One week after the Bantams played in State, the 12U Lakeland Hawk Pee Wees will participate in the Division 3A WAHA State Hockey Championships this Saturday and Sunday in Black River Falls.

“I think we’re excited,” coach Joe Dube said. “It’s always a big deal.”

The Hawks open the tournament against Merrill on Saturday at 9:45 a.m. This isn’t the first time they’ve faced them this year.

“We faced (Merrill) in the first game this year and it went well for us,” Dube said.

To open their season, the Hawks took on Merrill in a doubleheader on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019, at the Smith Center in Merrill. The Hawks won 12-1 in the first game and 19-2 in the second game.

“I think the kids have a really good chance of moving on,” Dube said.

As of late, two games against Wausau provided the Hawks with some of their best play yet. They tied Wausau 2-2 on Saturday, Feb. 29, then won the second game in overtime, 3-2, at the Lakeland Ice Arena.

“We did really well from a coaching staff standpoint — really happy we tied Wausau’s ‘A’ team a couple of weeks ago,” Dube said. “A division one club that we don’t get to see a lot of. They’re a tier one club (and) we’re a tier three club. To hang in with them is a pretty big deal.”

It’ll take everyone involved to go far in this tournament. Every singe player will factor into the games.

“We don’t have a lot of numbers,” Dube said. “We really need everybody on the team to be successful, no doubt about that.” 

When it comes to practice, the schedule remains the same. The Hawks will take what they’ve learned this year and use it on the ice for this tournament.

“Nothing’s really changing for us (in terms of) the practice schedule,” Dube said. “A skills based practice and this is up to the kids. They get to be in charge of their own destiny here.”

As for the rest of the field, there is a little bit of an unknown. The Hawks will face either Waupaca or Somerset in their next game, two teams they have yet to play.

“We haven’t played Waupaca or Somerset. They play first game (and if we) end up beating Merrill (we’ll play) one of those two,” Dube said. “They’re both really good clubs — faced them last year at the state tournament.”

In the bottom half of the bracket, Amery, Waupun, Black River Falls and Sauk Prairie are all teams the Hawks haven’t faced this season either.

“It’s a game of growing kids — anything can happen year-to-year, team-to-team,” Dube said. 

Lakeland opens with Merrill on Saturday, March 14, at the Milt Lunda Memorial Arena. The puck is scheduled to drop at 9:45 a.m. 

If Lakeland wins, they play Saturday at 4:45 p.m. against the winner of the Waupaca/Somerset matchup. If Lakeland loses, they play Saturday at 3 p.m.

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

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