Skaters roll over Amery
It took a while, but once the Wildcat hockey team got going there was no stopping it in its regional final against Amery Thursday.
The Warriors jumped out to a 1-0 lead 38 seconds into the game. The Cats peppered Amery goaltender Patrick Bergan but couldn't get the tying goal until Jackson Rohde scored with 6:15 remaining in the period.
Karl Andersen added a goal less than three minutes later to give River Falls a 2-1 lead after one, then the Cats exploded for five second period goals and three more in the third on their way to a 10-4 victory and a spot in the sectional semifinal and a rematch Tuesday night with Hudson.
The Cats have yet to defeat the Raiders this season. The two teams tied, 3-3, back on Dec. 11 and the Raiders defeated River Falls, 4-2, Jan. 22. Tuesday night's sectional semifinal was too late to report in this edition of the Journal but you can find the results online at www.riverfallsjournal.com.
Wildcat head coach Nic Jenkins said Thursday night against Amery, it was just a matter of sticking with the game plan after falling behind early.
"We played from behind most of the first period and the boys never panicked. They just kept skating and making opportunities for themselves," he said. "The guys played a good first period besides the first minute. Take away that one breakdown right away and I thought we did what we wanted to do, and that was open things up."
Despite trailing 1-0 the Wildcats dominated play in the opening period but Bergan preserved the Warrior lead with a number of big saves. Bergan stopped three Wildcat breakaways and stuffed Rohde from point-blank range before Rohde was able to find the back of the net with a help of a Danny Patrick screen in front.
After Karl Andersen gave the Cats the lead for good with 40 seconds remaining in the period, the Cats poured it on with five goals in the second period, including three shorthanded.
"The chances that weren't going in in the first period started going in in the second," Jenkins said. "Their goaltender was awesome in the first. He made some big saves and really kept Amery in it early."
Rohde finished with a hat trick in the win, including a shorthanded, unassisted goal midway through the second period. Dylan Dock scored two shorthanded goals in the second period and dished out two assists while Patrick finished with two goals and two assists.
Levi Johnson added a goal and two assists, Karl Andersen had a goal and an assist and Zach Bennett scored a goal while Ross Andersen, Robbie Richison, Zach Lindquist, Erik Friede and Quin Everson all had one assist each.
Wildcat goaltender Garrett Jensen made 17 saves as the Cats outshot the Warriors, 53-21.