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Wildcat hockey splits at home

Wildcat senior Wyatt Grundstrom looks to make a pass across the blue line in the first period of the Cats' 4-3 loss to Coon Rapids in the second game of the River Falls Quad Saturday, Dec. 30 at Wildcat Centre. Grundstrom scored a pair of goals in the game, one day after tallying a goal and an assist in a 7-3 victory over Faribault. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 3
Wildcat goalie Jake Miller knocks away a high shot with his blocker for one of his 27 saves in the Cats' 4-3 loss to Coon Rapids Saturday, Dec. 30 at Wildcat Centre. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 3
Wildcat junior Logan Graetz carries the puck across the blue line in the first period of the Cats' 4-3 loss to Coon Rapids in the second game of the River Falls Quad Saturday, Dec. 30 at Wildcat Centre. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 3 / 3

The Wildcat boys hockey team posted a 7-3 win over Faribault Friday, Dec. 29 before losing to Coon Rapids, 4-3, Saturday, Dec. 30, at its home River Falls Holiday Quad at Wildcat Centre.

The Wildcats, now 3-8-1 overall, will visit Hayward this Saturday, Jan. 6, before returning to Big Rivers Conference play Tuesday, Jan. 9, at home against Eau Claire North.

Last Friday against Faribault, Taylor Rotsaert and Cody Wilson scored two goals each and Jake Bergmanis dished out three assists in a 7-3 Wildcat win.

Faribault scored the first goal of the game before River Falls scored three of the next four goals to take a 3-2 lead after one.

Max Morrow got things going with a power play goal at the 11:14 mark, assisted by Wyatt Grundstrom and Bergmanis, before Rotsaert's first goal of the game 48 seconds later gave River Falls a 2-1 lead. Steve Klechefski picked up an assist.

After Faribault knotted things up, Wilson found the back of the net with 11 seconds remaining in the period with an assist from Nick Longsdorf to give River Falls the lead for good.

The Cats widened the gap to 6-2 with three unanswered goals in the second period, beginning with Rotsaert's second goal 9:05 in with an assist from Zak Paulson.

Logan Graetz followed 42 seconds later with Braedon Harer and Morrow, before Wilson scored his second goal at the 14:32 mark with assists from Bergmanis and Klechefski.

Faribault scored 39 seconds into the third period but that's as close as they could get as Grundstrom added a power play goal with under six minutes remaining to make the final 7-3. Joe Stoffel and Bergmanis picked up assists.

Wildcat goalie Jake Miller finished with 35 saves as the Cats outshot Faribault, 49-38.

Saturday the Cats found themselves trailing 2-0 just 1:14 into the game in a 4-3 loss to Coon Rapids.

Grundstrom sliced Coon Rapids lead to 2-1 2:06 into the first period with Bergmanis and Wilson assisting but Coon Rapids scored again at the 2:40 mark to take a 3-1 lead before things settled down.

Grundstrom made it a one-goal game with an unassisted shorthanded tally at the 7:19 mark of the second period and the Cats tied the score 3-3 on a power play goal by Harer with 1:04 left in the period, assisted by Morrow and Graez, but Coon Rapids scored the only goal of the third period to earn the 4-3 win.

Miller stopped 27 shots in the game as Coon Rapids outshot River Falls, 31-25.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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