LITCHFIELD -- River Lakes scored 27 seconds into the game, but Litchfield/Dassel-Cokato netted four goals in a span of 7½ minutes in the first period, fought off a Stars' second-half surge and had freshman defenseman Ben Haugo collect a hat trick to earn a 6-4 win in its season opener Thursday.
After Jake Herges scored unassisted just seconds after the first puck was dropped, Brady Meyer, Ben Haugo, Ethan Niemela and Kent Ryynanen scored to give the Dragons a three-goal lead.
Haugo then scored on a power play 1:43 into the second period to give what appeared to be a comfortable 5-1 lead for LDC. But the Stars (1-1) shot back.
Matt Kissner, Blake Karsch and Austin Stone all netted even-strength goals in a span of less than five minutes to get the visiting Stars within a goal at 5-4. However, River Lakes wouldn't find the scoreboard again as it was shut out in the third period by LDC goaltender Braeden Wahl.
Haugo added an insurance goal for LDC -- on a power play -- midway through the third. Ryynanen assisted on both power-play goals and also set up Niemela's goal.
LDC hosts Willmar (1-0) on Saturday at 2 p.m., while River Lakes is off until a home game on Tuesday against Central Lakes Conference rival Brainerd.
LDC 6, River Lakes 4
River Lakes (1-1)................1 3 0 -- 4
LDC (1-0)............................4 1 1 -- 6
FIRST PERIOD - RL: Jake Herges 0:27 ... LDC: Brady Meyer (Kent Ryynanen) 3:01 ... LDC: Ben Haugo (Eddie Estrada) 4:20 ... LDC: Ethan Niemela (Ryan Tormanen) 7:31 ... LDC: Ryynanen (Aaron Haataja) 10:31
SECOND PERIOD - LDC: Haugo (Ryynanen) 1:43, pp ... RL: Matt Kissner (Herges, Daiton Johnson) 7:39 ... RL: Blake Karsch (Grant Thompson) 12:18 ... RL: Austin Stone (Dylan Jude) 12:24
THIRD PERIOD - LDC: Haugo (Ryynanen, Chad Johnson) 11:05, pp
GOALIE SAVES - River Lakes: Chris Skluzacek, not available ... LDC: Braeden Wahl, not available