The Lakeland boys’ hockey got back to its winning ways in a non-conference win on Saturday, Dec. 21.
The Thunderbirds defeated Negaunee, Michigan 7-1.
“A good, hard fought win for our kids,” coach Jake Suter said.
In the first period, Max Toijala scored his first goal of the game on passes from Kyle Schaub and Joe Beda.
The score was 1-0 after a period.
The second period was full of penalties, including seven on Negaunee. The Thunderbirds took advantage of those with three goals.
The first came three minutes in from Max Toijala. The assists went to Tyler Gillich and Cody Olson. About a minute later, Schaub scored on passes from Beda and Toijala. The Thunderbirds quickly had a 3-0 lead.
“I’m very proud of the composure and discipline our young men showed,” Suter said. “They stuck up for each other.”
Late in the second period, the Thunderbirds scored their third goal of the period. It came from Toijala once again, his third of the game for the hat trick. This one came on an assist from Teag Wagner.
After two periods, the Thunderbirds were up 4-0. Collin Guelcher recorded 27 saves on the day and had shutout through two periods.
“(They) let the opponent continue their parade to the penalty box while we continued to capitalize on the power play,” Suter said.
In the third period, more penalties hurt Negaunee. First, Chris Thoma scored the Thunderbirds’ fifth goal on a pass from Toijala. It was Thoma’s first goal of his career.
“I put him out there for a shift with Max to reward his hard work and he got one,” Suter said. “It was pretty cool.”
The last two goals of the game came from Toijala and Wagner. Toijala scored four goals in the game, the last one unassisted.
The seventh and final goal for the Thunderbirds came from Wagner, assisted by Toijala and Schaub.
“A very good team win to send us into break on a high note,” Suter said.
The Thunderbirds improved their record to 7-2, 3-1 in conference.
After a long break, the Thunderbirds next game comes Friday, Jan. 3 against non-conference Brookfield East at the Lakeland Ice Arena. The puck drops at 6 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]