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Skaters drop three straight

Collin Reuter scored the tying goal with 23 seconds left in regulation but Black River Falls tallied the game-winner just over four minutes into overtime as the Wildcat hockey team dropped a 4-3 decision to the Tigers Saturday night in Black River Falls.

The loss was the third of the week for the Cats, who fell 6-2 to Amery last Tuesday and 7-2 to Eau Claire Memorial last Thursday.

This week the Cats hosted Somerset Tuesday night before traveling up Hwy. 35 to take on Hudson Saturday night (Jan. 15) at 7 p.m. They travel to Chippewa Falls next Tuesday, Jan. 18, before returning home to host Baldwin-Woodville Thursday, Jan. 20.

Last Saturday night against Black River Falls, the Cats killed off a two-man Tiger power play at the start of the third period before Reuter sent the game into overtime with his third goal of the game with 23 seconds remaining. A.J. Sollom and Trent Frey assisted on the game-tying goal.

Reuter opened the scoring at 11:18 of the first period with assists from Sam Pilney and Levi Grant but Black River Falls tied the score, 1-1, just 12 seconds later. The Tigers took a 2-1 lead at the end of the period but Reuter notched his second goal of the game at the 9:10 mark of the second with assists from Gerad Stratton and Brent Johnson, to knot the score again, 2-2.

Black River Falls went ahead 3-2 with a goal at the 6:47 mark of the second, and after the Cats escaped from a two-man disadvantage to start the third, Reuter completed his hat trick with 23 seconds left to send the game into overtime.

Wildcat goalie Andy Wiley made 21 saves in the game as the Cats outshot the Tigers 34-25.

"This was a penalty-infested game," Wildcat coach Rick Hansen said. "We played undisciplined at times and took too many retaliation penalties."

A total of 19 penalties were called in the contest, 11 against the Cats, leading to a pair of Black River Falls power play goals.

Last Thursday at Eau Claire Memorial, Jake Stauber and Pilney accounted for the Wildcat goals in a 7-2 loss to the fifth-ranked Old Abes. Sollom and Johnson picked up assists on the goal by Stauber while Pilney's shorthanded score came unassisted.

The Cats trailed 3-2 at the end of two before the Old Abes scored four unanswered goals in the final period.

"If someone would have told me we'd only be down one goal after two periods of play I would have thought they were crazy since we're talking about the fifth-ranked team in the state," Hansen said. "In the third period we were caught in our zone for long periods of time and were undisciplined when crossing center ice to dump in and change."

Last Tuesday against Amery, Pilney scored a pair of first period goals to give the Cats a 2-1 first period lead, but Amery scored the last five goals of the game to hand the Cats a 6-2 loss.

"We scored on the first shift of the game," Hansen said about Pilney's first goal just 29 seconds into the contest. "Amery came out in the second like we came out in the first and scored on their first shift."

Amery led 3-2 at the end of the second before scoring three times in the third.

"We played them tough for about half the third period and we just ran out of gas," Hansen said.

Grant assisted on Pilney's first goal while Reuter picked up an assist on the second. Wiley made 26 saves in the loss.