Woodbury boys hockey: Royals end winless streak in tourney playWoodbury got back to its winning ways -- and reached the championship game of a holiday tournament.
By: Mike Longaecker, Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Woodbury got back to its winning ways -- and reached the championship game of a holiday tournament.
The Royals snapped their four-game winless streak by defeating Suburban East Conference foe Hastings 7-5 on Monday in the South St. Paul Christmas tournament. Woodbury stayed hot in their 2-1 win over North St. Paul on Tuesday.
Woodbury faces Eagan Wednesday night in the championship game.
The victories were a nice change of pace for the Royals.
Their last loss came at the hands of Eastview, who won 5-4 in the road game for the Royals. Woodbury had four conference points, leaving it in the middle of the Suburban East Conference, tied with Hastings and Cretin-Derham Hall.
Woodbury jumped out to an early 3-0 first period lead in the game, after finding ways to break the puck out of its zone under a tight Eastview defense.
Forward Nate Wareham netted the first two goals, the first on an assist from Blake Kelley, the second from Kelley and Ryan Winter.
“It was sure nice to see Nate Wareham score two goals,” said Woodbury coach Wes Bolin, noting that the senior is making a transition this year from defenseman to the forward position.
Three minutes later in the first period, Kelley lit the lamp, with assists going to Wareham and Winter.
The Lightning scored with 14 seconds remaining the period, giving Woodbury a 3-1 lead going into the first intermission.
Bolin called the first-period lead “misleading,” noting that the Royals were out-shot in the period.
He said the second period was more evenly matched, Bolin said, with Woodbury edging Eastview in shots on goal 11-10.
During that period, Eastview benefitted from an unusual bounce off the glass that resulted in a goal and drew the game to 3-2. The Lightning scored the tying goal on a play that Bolin said “caught us by surprise.”
The clincher for Eastview came in the third period, when the Royals sent players to the penalty box four times. The Lightning capitalized on two of those power play opportunities, giving them a 5-3 lead.
But senior Woodbury forward Steve Fingleton provided some hope for the Royals when his goal (assist from Geno DeMike) made it a one-score game.
“Our kids battled back to give us an opportunity,” Bolin said. “It just didn’t happen.”
The non-conference loss was the second straight for Woodbury, a team that hadn’t seen a win since its Dec. 8 matchup with Cretin-Derham Hall.