WILLMAR — In each of their three previous meetings with Granite City during the 2019-20 NA3HL campaign, the Willmar WarHawks have failed to come away with a victory.
Locking horns with the Lumberjacks for the fourth time this season on Wednesday, the WarHawks were unable to get the monkey off their backs.
Allowing the first five goals of the contest, Willmar dropped its third game in a row following a 5-2 defeat from the Willmar Civic Center.
In its four wins against the WarHawks, Granite City has outscored Willmar by a 21-8 margin.
The visitors struck first early in the first period. On an odd-man rush, Tristan Birdsall passed the puck to Nicholas Richert, who was trailing the play. Rather than take a shot, Richert dished it to his left to Jacob Schuldt, who put it past Willmar goaltender Lukas Haugen.
Following a period where they outshot their opponent 19-5 in the first 20 minutes, the Lumberjacks created separation with three goals in the second period.
Bailey Sommers netted two goals for the road team before assisting on a score from Ryan Pogue.
Trailing 5-0, the WarHawks showed signs of life when Marquez Ginger was credited with an assist on a goal from Eli Slagter midway through the third period. Ginger picked up another helper after connecting with Danny Klatt with under five minutes left in regulation.
Despite allowing two goals in the third, Granite City’s Bailey Huber earned the victory in net after stopping 17 shots. On the other end, Haugen finished with 39 saves.
The two teams will meet two more times before end of the season. The WarHawks play at Granite City from the Armadillo Deck Sports Arena in Sauk Rapids on Jan. 24. Two days later, Willmar will host the Lumberjacks.
Looking to snap their losing streak, the WarHawks will hit the road to face Breezy Point at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.