Woodbury boys hockey: Royals play to tie against BearsThe Royals learned potentially deflating news last week, but it didn’t keep them from putting a scare into one of the Suburban East Conference’s top teams.
By: Mike Longaecker, edtior, Woodbury Bulletin
The Royals learned potentially deflating news last week, but it didn’t keep them from putting a scare into one of the Suburban East Conference’s top teams.
Just days after learning that starting goaltender Evan Broadbent was sidelined with a potentially season-ending injury, Woodbury traveled to White Bear Lake and earned a 3-3 tie. The game gave Woodbury its first conference point in the SEC and brought its season record to 2-1-1.
The White Bear Lake tie came two days after the Royals lost 5-2 at home to Eastview.
Senior Geno DeMike and freshman Sasha Choporov each recorded goals against Eastview.
Coach Wes Bolin said the best thing about the Eastview game was the way his Royals bounced back against the Bears.
“They responded,” he said.
And they did it without Broadbent, the senior goalie who played in the Royals’ first two games before going down last week with a knee injury during warm-ups. Bolin said Broadbent is scheduled for surgery this week, the results from which will portend his fate for the 2012-13 season.
That includes the possibility that Broadbent will be lost for the season, Bolin said.
“That’s obviously disheartening for the team,” he said.
Broadbent’s backup, senior Connor Kwiatkowski, assumed goalie duties against Eastview on Thursday, Nov. 29. The visitors recorded five goals, but Bolin said “we kind of hung (Kwiatkowski) out to dry.”
The coach said the Eastview game “exposed some habits” in need of correcting – namely, finishing on forechecks and hustling after loose pucks. He said those issues were turned around in time for the White Bear Lake game on Saturday, Dec. 1.
DeMike and fellow senior Ford Pendleton, along with junior Jack Glaeser, all scored against the Bears.
Bolin characterized the White Bear Lake game as a moral victory for the Royals.
“It may be the first time that the top-seeded team hasn’t beaten the near-bottom seeded team in the first game of the year,” he said, adding that the Royals played the Bears “pretty even.”
The Royals have seen resurgent strength this year on special teams, with four short-handed goals through four games and just as many power-play goals.
That surge hasn’t happened by accident. Bolin said he teamed up last summer with sophomore defenseman Hayden Shaw’s father – New Jersey Devils assistant coach Matt Shaw – to devise a new power play system.
“The kids have bought in,” Bolin said of the system.
Woodbury goes back in search of its third win on Thursday against SEC foe Roseville. The game will be the Royals’ last home game during the month of December. That road stretch begins Saturday with another conference match-up against Stillwater.
Bolin said he expects all games against SEC opponents to be close this season.
“There’s so few games that are not one-goal (differences),” he said. “That’s just how tight this conference is.”