LUHS boys’ hockey loses to Tomahawk in OT
PHOTOS BY Jacob friede/lakeland times
Lakeland goalie Collin Guelcher eyes up the puck shooting at him during the T-Birds 3-2 loss to the Hatchets last Thursday.
||Jacob Friede, Lakeland Times sports reporter
12/4/2018 7:29 AM
Lakeland junior defender Josh Sennett gets low and close to cut off Tomahawk’s Max Bembinster. The game between the T-Birds and Hatchets was a very physical battle all night.
Between the barrage of bone crushing checks into the boards and the suspense of a sudden death overtime, the Lakeland boys’ hockey game against Tomahawk on Thursday night was not for the faint of heart.
Those who could watch saw the Hatchets sneak past the Thunderbirds, just like their final goal, 3-2.
Not long into the extra frame, Lakeland goalie Collin Guelcher was under heavy fire, but he had been all game, so it was business as usual and he kept his cool under the bombardment.
Guelcher made a gusty save on a shot fired from right in front of his face, but the puck was deflected behind him where it ricocheted like a pinball through a cyclone of sticks, the last one being that of Tomahawk’s Cody Scholz, who barely had enough push on the puck to make it move, yet it rolled into the net on its side.
It was a dainty goal to end a game in which both teams had their dukes up, but a goal is a goal and the Hatchets prevailed in overtime.
The game started Lakeland’s way, though, as Guelcher was magnificent in goal, stopping storm after storm of Tomahawk pressure, but he kept them from the net, and the defense was able to clear the puck quickly after shots.
Then Max Toijala scored at 11:30 into the first period and the Thunderbirds were up 1-0.
“Tomahawk was peppering a lot of shots at Colin, but we did a good job staying on our feet there, clearing the pucks out and eventually turning it over to our offense there with Max’s goal,” Lakeland head coach Jake Suter said.
Tomahawk’s Cody Scholz evened things out in the second with a goal at 10:42 into the period, but that was all the scoring done that period as the Lakeland’s defense was again tough, even riding out a five minute scoreless Tomahawk power play after Kyle Schaub was sent to the box for boarding.
At the second intermission the game was tied 1-1.
The third period saw blow after blow into the boards as both teams amped up the intensity, especially Lakeland, who got fuel from the home crowd.
“For our kids it’s always awesome playing in front of their fans and the students who showed up,” Suter said. “Students and parents both showed support as well as the community and that’s what I told the kids before the game, they’re playing for themselves, the fans, the students, and their community, and they represented them well.”
But at 3:46 into the third period Tomahawk, silenced the raucous crowd momentarily when, instead of the T-Birds scoring on their power play, Max Bembinster scored a short-handed goal for the Hatchets and they went up 2-1.
Then, just when it looked like Tomahawk could ride the game out, the Hatchets got called for head contact and Schaub took advantage of the mismatch and scored a power play goal 4:20 into the third.
This all set up the strange, rolling goal off the stick of Tomahawk’s Scholz in overtime and the T-Birds lost a heartbreaking home opener 3-2.
They next travel to Mosinee for a 7 p.m. face-off against the Indians tonight.
Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@