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Boys hockey: Cardinals’ late goal downs Stars

Tribune photo by Tom Larson Willmar sophomore forward Isaac Kobenia, left, uses his right hand to carry the puck up the boards while he fends off River Lakes senior defenseman Mitch Feldhege with his left arm during the first period of a Central Lakes Conference game Friday at the Willmar Civic Center.

WILLMAR — Buzzy Tollefson scored on a rebound in the third period to lead Willmar to a 3-2 win over River Lakes in a Central Lakes Conference game Friday at the Willmar Civic Center.

Down 2-1 after the first period, Evan VanDenEinde scored on an assist from Isaac Kobenia at 2:52 of the second, and Tollefson potted the game-winning biscuit off a shot by Hunter Mottinger at 3:37 of the third.

Tollefson also assisted on Nate Ackerman’s first period goal.

River Lakes’ Connor Beltz scored twice, about two minutes apart, to put the Stars up a goal after one.

“It was a close game, an exciting game,” said Willmar head coach Dan Tollefson. “We had a couple of breakdowns and they scored boom, boom in the first. But we were playing good and the kids had confidence in the way they were playing so we stuck with the game plan and found a way to win.”

Willmar goalie Levi Goosmann made 18 saves — 9 in the third period — to get the win. River Lakes’ goalie Nicholas Skluzacek made 27 stops.

The Cardinals travel to Windom for a 1 p.m. game today against a Section 3A opponent. A victory would go a long way ensuring Willmar a No. 2 seed for the section playoffs.

Willmar 3, River Lakes 2

River Lakes (2-12, 8-15)  2  0  0 — 2

Willmar (3-7, 9-11)            1  1  1 — 3

FIRST PERIOD – W: Nate Ackerman (Buzzy Tollefson) 3:17 … R: Connor Beltz 14:01 … R: Connor Beltz (Eric Zimmer, Matt Prozinski) 16:18

SECOND PERIOD – W: Evan VanDenEinde (Isaac Kobenia) 2:52

THIRD PERIOD – W: Buzzy Tollefson (Hunter Mottinger) 3:37

GOALIE SHOTS-SAVES – River Lakes: Nicholas Skluzacek 30-27 … Willmar: Levi Goosman 20-18