Cats score goals but not wins; Jerry nears all-time scoring mark
Wildcat senior Casey Jerry had four goals and four assists in two games last week to move to within six points of Trent Frey's all-time River Falls' scoring record but it wasn't enough as the Cats dropped a pair of high-scoring affairs.
River Falls gave up five goals in the second period in a 6-5 loss to Menomonie last Tuesday, Jan. 8, before battling back from a four-goal deficit only to fall 7-5 to the WSFGL Blizzard Saturday, Jan. 12 at Hunt Arena.
Jerry had a goal and three assists in the loss at Menomonie before recording a hat trick and one assist Saturday against the Blizzard. Jerry leads the Wildcats in scoring this season with 50 points (25 goals, 25 assists) and has 132 points in his career. Frey holds the Wildcat all-time mark with 138.
Last week's two losses dropped the Wildcats' to 7-11-0 overall, 1-6-0 in the Big Rivers Conference. They have six regular season games remaining beginning this Thursday, Jan. 17, at home against Eau Claire Memorial.
"With six games remaining we will continue to get better; we need to be playing our best hockey now through playoffs," River Falls' coach Mike Kealy said. "I am excited for this week and like the progression we are making."
The Cats had no problem scoring goals last week. Brady Stocker and Connor Maxwell had two goals apiece at Menomonie and Jerry had another but five second period goals by the Mustangs resulted in a 6-3 deficit that River Falls couldn't overcome.
"We played an outstanding first period; very controlled and very smart," Kealy said. "We had a major let down in the second, and once Menomonie gained the momentum it was very hard to stop."
Mason Woiwode had two assists in the loss while Stocker picked up one helper. Corbin Renslow stopped 14 of 17 shots he faced while Logan Otterson stopped six of nine shots.
"We are struggling with consistency," Kealy said. We play one or two good periods then take one off."
Assistant coach Ryan Purfeerst said Maxwell played his best game of the year. "He played with great energy," Purfeerst said.
Saturday at Hunt Arena against the WSFLG (Webster/Siren/Frederic/Luck/Grantsburg) Blizzard, the Wildcats fell behind 2-0 before Jerry scored on a wrist shot from the right circle, assisted by Woiwode, with just over ten minutes remaining in the first period.
The Blizzard took a 3-1 lead with four seconds remaining in the first period and extended its lead to 4-1 midway through the second Jerry struck again, this time assisted by Kyle Hargrave.
The Blizzard lead grew to 6-2 at the end of the second period before Maxwell and Jerry scored unassisted goals just over two minutes apart in the third to make it a 6-4 game. The Blizzard answered quickly with their seventh goal of the game before Hargrave scored with 3:34 remaining, assisted by Jerry, to make the final 7-5.
"We seemed to move the puck much better -- guys were moving their feet and making a lot of good plays," Kealy said. "But the game didn't seem to have a good flow or rhythm."
Kealy said Woiwode is playing at a high level right now. "He is gaining more and more confidence with each game," the coach said.
Hargrave also earned praise from the team's coaching staff.
"Kyle Hargrave had a great game," assistant coach Sam Pilney said. "He made great play after great play."
Otterson started in goal and stopped 13 of 18 shots while Renslow allowed two goals in 14 shots in 22 minutes of relief.