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Boys' Hockey: Royals pull away from rival Raptors

The Royals celebrate after a Kurri Anderson goal ties the game at 1-1 in the first period. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)1 / 3
Woodbury goaltender John Conlee makes a pad save in the third period. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)2 / 3
East Ridge's Joseph Dokken takes a shot in some traffic during the second period Saturday. (Bulletin photo by Blaze Fugina)3 / 3

The Woodbury boys’ hockey team found itself facing a 1-0 deficit early in the first period of Saturday's home game against rival East Ridge.

But it did not take long to respond. The Royals’ Kurri Anderson scored less than two minutes later to tie the game at 1-1. Alec Wonsmos added another goal with seven minutes, 34 seconds left in the first period to give the Royals a 2-1 lead. Woodbury scored twice more in the second and third periods on its way to a 4-1 win against the Raptors.

A Woodbury assistant coach gave the players an impassioned speech before the game about the outgoing seniors who were playing in the crosstown rivalry game for the final time in their careers.

The speech worked as motivation.

“I think we were playing that in the back of our heads,” Wonsmos said. “We knew we have so many seniors, and this is our last game playing East Ridge. The last time here in front of the home fans. We just wanted to bring it.”

Luke Landin scored East Ridge's first goal on a top-shelf wrist shot from the blue line. Anderson responded by taking a rebound through traffic and shooting it into the back of the East Ridge net.

After being placed on a new line, Anderson said he wanted to show linemates Ronnie Sweeny and Wonsmos that he was a contributor.

“We got new lines, and I really wanted to be part of my first line with Ronnie (Sweeny) and Wons,” Anderson said. “After they scored we just came back, and Wons gave me a nice pass out front.”

With a 2-1 lead heading into the first intermission, Woodbury's Sweeny scored a power-play goal in the second period before Ben Wahlin scored the game’s final goal with about five minutes left in the third.

Woodbury goaltender John Conlee turned away 19 shots in goal while East Ridge’s Nick Stearns made 22 saves.

Woodbury’s win halted a three-game losing streak that started with a 5-0 loss to Stillwater on Jan. 12. The Royals also lost games against Roseville and Cretin-Derham Hall.

They did not have many leads in the three-game losing streak, and Woodbury head coach Wes Bolin said the two-goal first period instilled some self-assurance.

“Confidence is such an important part,” Bolin said. “These are kids that are playing in front of a big crowd, and they have confidence. Good plays breed more confidence, so you want to make a good play. But you need the confidence to make a good play, so it's kind of a tough cycle there. That's why momentum is such a key factor.”

Woodbury improved to 5-5 in the Suburban East Conference with the win while East Ridge dropped to 0-9-2.