WILLMAR — It was 56 long days since the Willmar WarHawks last ventured onto the ice for an NA3HL game.

And the WarHawks looked like they were more than ready to play.

Willmar scored the game’s first three goals en route to a 5-2 victory over the Alexandria Blizzard on Friday night.

The game was played before 150 fans at the Willmar Civic Center. It’s the maximum allowed for games, as per state protocols concerning the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID also is the reason the WarHawks didn’t play for 56 games, as the state shut down all sporting events.

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But Willmar didn’t seem to miss a beat, getting first-period goals from Cole Wigestrand, Ben Johnson, Dylan Gajewski to take a 3-0 lead.

Willmar improved its lead to 5-1 with second-period goals from Alex Kupka and Jeremiah Konkel. It was the first goals of the season for Gajewski and Kupka, who are among seven newcomers on the WarHawks’ roster.

Willmar is host to the Granite City Lumberjacks at 7:10 p.m. Saturday.

Willmar 5,

Alexandria 2

Alexandria (5-6-1) 1 0 1 — 2
Willmar (6-9-0) 3 2 0 — 5
FIRST PERIOD – (1) W: College Wigestrand 3 (Ethan Mock) 5:06 … (2) W: Ben Johnson 3 (Michael Sweetland, Henry Andrews) 11:122 … (3) W: Dylan Gajewski 1 (Alex Kupka, Lewis Rowan) 12:04 … (4) A: Caleb Strong 7 (Sean Kenny, Nikolai Rajala) 17:11 ... PENALTIES: (1) A: Wyatt Blahosky (tripping-minor, 2 minutes) 13:10 … (2) W: Kaleb Miller (checking from behind-minor, 2 minutes) 18:11
SECOND PERIOD – (5) W: Kupka 1 (unassisted) 6:37 … (6) W: Jeremiah Konkel 3 (Jack Willis, Tanner Hallett) 11:37. PENALTIES: (3) A: Austin McNeil (checking from behind-misconduct, 10 minutes) 6:52 … (4) W: Ben Luedtke (roughing-minor, 2 minutes), 6:52 … (5) W: Wigestrand (checking from behind-misconduct, 10 minutes) 6:52 … (6) A: Wesley Johnson (slashing-minor, 2 minutes) 8:24 … (7) A: Dallas Duckson (tripping-minor, 2 minutes) 15:16 (8) A: Blahosky (roughing-minor, 2 minutes) 19:59 … (9) W: Ethan Light (slashing-minor, 2 minutes) 19:59 … (10) W: Light (roughing-minor, 2 minutes) 19:59
THIRD PERIOD – (3) A: Caleb Strong 8 (Nikolai Rajala, Sean Kenny) 15:53 ... PENALTIES: (11) A: Trent Sylvester (tripping-minor, 2 minutes) 8:57 … (12) A: Matthew Thompson (roughing-minor, 2 minutes) 19:29 … (13) W: Mock (interference-minor, 2 minutes) 19:29
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Alexandria: Bailey Rosch 27/32 (31:37); Joey Grelich 16/16 (28:23) … Willmar: Lukas Haugen 24/26