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Boys' Hockey: Royals win twice in conference play

The Woodbury boys’ hockey team made a move up the Suburban East Conference standings with two wins last week.

The wins included a 3-1 victory against White Bear Lake on Saturday, a team that is ranked just outside the top 10 among the state’s Class 2A teams. Woodbury needed some third-period offense to make that happen as both teams entered the third period tied at 1-1.

Ronnie Sweeny and Ben Wahlin each scored goals to give Woodbury some breathing room. Alex Stuckert also scored at the six-minute, 25-second mark of the first period.

“Their goaltender is very good, and you have to have good shots to beat him,” Woodbury head coach Wes Bolin said about Bears’ goalie Bob Parenteau. “Ronnie snapped one over his glove, and with about three minutes to go, Ben Wahlin did the same thing. It was a beautiful goal.”

White Bear Lake outshot Woodbury in the game 28-23, but the biggest differential was in the first period when the Bears held the advantage 12-8. Goaltender John Conlee made 27 saves to hold off the Bears.

Bolin credited the Woodbury defense for playing well.

“We really picked up our defensive game,” Bolin said. “Our defensemen are playing with confidence, and John Conlee is playing with confidence in goal. It was really a great team effort.”

Lucas Erickson, Stuckert and Wahlin each scored goals in the second period to put some space between Woodbury and Forest Lake in a 4-0 Royals victory Thursday on the road. Spencer Nelson also netted a goal in the first period.

Conlee made 20 saves to pick up the shutout win.

The Royals are next gearing up for a home game Thursday against Class 2A’s top-ranked team, Stillwater. The Ponies are undefeated this season and are 7-0 in Suburban East Conference play.

Bolin said the Royals are taking tempered excitement into the matchup with the SEC leader.

“They are the mark that everybody is shooting for to get to the state tournament in our section,” Bolin said. “We’re excited about that game for sure. But we also know that if you get too excited about it, when you are playing a team that good, if you don’t play well, focused and team oriented, things don’t always go your way and it gets to be a long night.”

Woodbury improved to a season record of 10-4 with the two wins last week, including a conference record of 4-2. Woodbury is scheduled to play Roseville on the road Saturday after facing Stillwater at home Thursday.