Wildcat skaters off to good start
The Wildcat hockey team overcame a pair of slow starts to win its first two games of the season over the Nov. 28-29 weekend at the Somerset Quad.
The Cats scored the final four goals of the game in a 5-2 victory over Amery Friday night before Dylan Dock and Karl Andersen combined for five goals and four assists in a 7-3 win over host Somerset Saturday afternoon.
"It took us a bit to get our legs under us but when we did I thought we got a good, consistent effort," head coach Nick Jenkins said about Saturday's victory. "It was the second game where we fell behind early but didn't panic. That was nice to see considering we had quite a few players seeing their first real varsity action."
The Cats trailed early in both games -- 2-1 to Amery and 1-0 to Somerset.
The Spartans jumped out to a 1-0 lead six minutes into the first period but River Falls tied the score on Andersen's first of two goals, assisted by Mitch Johnson.
David Ritter gave the Cats a 2-1 lead with a power play goal early in the second period with Mark Bennett assisting. Dock followed with the first of his three goals, assisted by Zach Lindquist, to extend the lead to 3-1 before Somerset scored twice to tie the score again, 3-3.
Andersen gave the Cats the lead for good, 4-3, with his second goal of the game, assisted by Dock, with just over one minute remaining in the second period.
The third period was all River Falls as Dock scored two more goals to finish off his hat trick while assisting on another by Bennett to make the final 7-3.
Bennett and Andersen assisted on Dock's first goal of the period while Andersen and Zac Balsiger picked up assists on the other.
Dock finished with three goals and two assists while Andersen had two goals and two assists and Bennett added a goal and two assists.
Goaltender Garrett Jensen made 12 saves as the Cats outshot the Spartans 35-15.
The night before, the Cats scored four third period goals in a come-from-behind victory over Amery.
"It took us a period to get settled in and play our systems," Jenkins said. "We did generate plenty of scoring opportunities in the second half of the game, but there is a lot of room for improvement in our own end."
River Falls trailed 2-1 after two with Johnson's unassisted power-play goal early in the second period accounting for the lone score.
Andersen tied things up early in the third, assisted by Lindquist, before Dock gave the Wildcats the lead for good midway through the period, assisted by Bennett.
Trey Peterson added a goal less than a minute later with another assist from Bennett, before Dock tallied a shorthanded goal with just under three minutes remaining to make the final 5-2. Jack Pilney and Johnson picked up assists.
Jensen finished with 20 saves in the victory.
Jenkins said the team is off to a good start.
"We have another hard working group of kids," he said. "As a coaching staff, the work ethic of the team is the deciding factor, and for us I see it as a great foundation to build off of this year. We lost a lot from last year, but I can already see these guys are ready to step up and make a name for themselves."