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Marshfield hockey feeling good heading into second half
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – Three straight wins in its annual home tournament has the Marshfield boys hockey team feeling good heading into the second half of its season.
Marshfield rolled to 11-3 and 11-1 victories over Chequamegon/Phillips and the Webster/Siren/Frederic/Luck/Grantsburg (WSFLG) Blizzard, respectively, and had a come-from-behind 6-4 win over Regis/Altoona/McDonell on Dec. 15-16 to win the Andrew Thiel Memorial Tournament at the Marshfield Area Ice Arena.
With the three victories, the Tigers are now 6-5 this season, prior to Tuesday’s game against Merrill/Wausau East.
“This is important to us as we enter the heart of a tough conference schedule, and need to have momentum heading into those games,” Marshfield Coach Eric Bowman said.
The positive momentum began with a 3-2 win over Waupaca on Dec. 12, as the Tigers scored three times in the first 10 minutes of the third period to overcome a two-goal deficit.
Adam Maki scored 54 seconds in the third period on a power play, Ben Lawyer tied it with a goal at the 4:59 mark, and Ryan Krueger provided the game-winner with a short-handed goal at 7:01 remaining in the game.
A.J. Trierweiler had 29 saves in goal for Marshfield.
Ben Lawyer got the ball rolling against Chequamegon/Phillips with a goal off assists from Nate Boson and Nick Urban 5:31 into the game.
Evan Weister, Max Heller, and Isaac Wellens added goals in the first period, and Ben Baur scored 7:04 into the second period to give the Tigers a 5-0 lead.
Chequamegon/Phillips scored just 22 points before an onslaught started for the Tigers.
Marshfield scored five goals in a span of 5:26 to open up a 10-1 lead. Ryan Krueger scored twice in the run, and Weister, Boson, and Justin Stanek added goals to help the Tigers open up the nine-goal advantage.
Urban added a goal 2:52 into the third period for the Tigers’ final goal.
Weister had a hat trick and Krueger scored twice as the Tigers scored nine times in the first period to make quick work of WSFLG.
In the victory against Regis/Altoona/McDonell, Marshfield scored three times in the first period against Regis/Altoona/McDonell, before losing the lead as the Ramblers scored three times in the second period to take a 4-3 lead.
The Tigers rallied, with Krueger scoring twice and Wellens adding another, in less than 4 minutes, late in the game.
“We had a very slow start (to the season),” Bowman said. “We lost a few games early that we felt were missed opportunities to get some wins. We were very inconsistent. As December started, we basically hit the reset button on our season and tried to shift our attention from some of the things we were doing wrong, to what we had been doing well.”
With 12 regular-season games remaining after Tuesday’s game, Marshfield will play seven in the Wisconsin Valley Conference, which has proven tough over the past few seasons for the Tigers.
Bowman said he knows the team has to continue to play at a high level to be competitive in the Valley.
“Our defensive zone has improved a great deal over the past year, however we still have some room to improve there,” Bowman said. “We have been playing physical hockey, which we feel is a strength, but sometimes it has cost us when we have taken penalties at bad times in the game.
“We are still far from a finished product and know that we have some weaknesses we need to address. We need to improve on our transition game. Our special teams also need to continue to improve. At this point in the season, we have a lot more confidence in our power play, but our penalty kill needs to see success more often. This area of the game will continue to be a point of emphasis, as we need to convert on our special team opportunities if we want to be in games against the talent and depth that we play against in the Wisconsin Valley Conference.”