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Woodbury boys hockey: Wahlin, Bears too much for Royals in opener

Woodbury’s boys hockey team had a first-hand look at one of the state’s top forwards in their season opener.

White Bear Lake’s Jake Wahlin, a Division I recruit, scored two goals as the Woodbury Royals fell to the Bears 5-2 in their Saturday, Nov. 23, season-opener.  The Royals will have a few chances to get in the win column this weekend with their own Thanksgiving tournament on Friday and Saturday.

“It was a very young team against the conference favorite and top 10-15 team in the state,” Royals coach Wes Bolin said about their opener.

Against the Bears, junior forward Tristan Mayer kept the Royals in the game with the team’s first goal of the season after Wahlin’s first goal.  Sophomore forward Adam Albright and junior defenseman Jordan Wilkerson assisted on the goal, which tied the game in the first period 1-1 at the Vadnais Sports Center.

Hunter Lovdokken put the Bears back in front 20 seconds later, but freshman forward Alec Wonsomos knotted the game again at the end of the period for the Royals.  Senior forward Jack Graeser assisted on the goal.

The Royals (0-1, 0-1 Suburban East) kept the game at 2-2 through most of the second period, but they surrendered their first power play goal of the season when Wyatt Newpower scored for the Bears.  Two more goals by the Bears (1-0, 1-0 Suburban East) in the third sealed their win as the Royals dropped both their season and conference opener.  Royals junior goalie Austen Macalus stopped 39 shots in the loss.

“Our inexperienced showed in special teams,” Bolin said.  “We will improve though.”

The Royals host Chisago Lakes (1-0, 0-0 North Suburban) on Friday night at 7:45 p.m. at Bielenberg Ice Arena on the tournament’s first day.  The Wildcats return their top goaltender, Bryce Thompson, from a team that reached their section semifinals last season.  Hopkins and Shakopee will face off first at 5:30 p.m.

Depending on Friday’s results, the Royals will face either Hopkins or Shakopee on Saturday.  Both the Hopkins Royals and Shakopee Sabers struggled last season, but they return solid senior leadership. 

In addition to the varsity contests, Woodbury will have its alumni game at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday.  It will take place prior to both the varsity consolation and winner’s bracket championship games.

-Matthew Davis