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Junior Hockey: Kunka tough in net in Willmar win

Goalie makes 29 saves in WarHawks' 5-0 win at New Ulm

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Willmar Warhawks

NEW ULM — Will Kunka made 29 saves to earn the shutout in goal for the Willmar WarHawks in a 5-0 NA3HL victory over the New Ulm Steel on Saturday night.

Kunka is a 19-year-old from Moorhead. It was his first shutout of the season and improved his goals-against average to 3.95 and his save percentage to .891. He has a 4-2 record.

After a scoreless first period, Jeremiah Konkel notched his 14th goal of the season on the power play at 17:56.

The WarHawks then got goals from Gunnar Sibley, Anthony Foster, Ben Luedtke and Elbridge DeKraai in the third period to put the game away before 154 fans at the New Ulm Civic Center.

For Sibley, it was his first goal of the season. A 19-year-old forward from Monticello, he also had three assists in 18 games for Willmar.

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The WarHawks are host to the Wausau Cyclones on Friday and Saturday at the Willmar Civic Center Arena. Gametime is 7:10 p.m. both nights. Wausau has a 9-11-0-1 record in the NA3HL’s Central Division, which is currently led by the Rochester Grizzlies, who are 22-1-1.

Willmar is 11-10-1 and trailing West Division leader Granite City. The Lumberjacks are 21-1. Mason City is second at 16-6-1 followed by Willmar (11-10-1), Alexandria (10-11), New Ulm (7-17) and the Minnesota Loons (2-22).

Willmar 5,
New Ulm 0

Willmar (11-10-1) 0 1 4 — 5
New Ulm (7-17-0) 0 0 0 — 0
FIRST PERIOD – No goals. PENALTIES: (1) W: Marcus Mack (roughing-minor, 2 min), 6:11 … (2) NU: Keegan Kemper (roughing-minor, 2 min), 6:11.
SECOND PERIOD – (1) W: Jeremiah Konkel 14 (Mack 10, Tate Hammitt 14), 17:56 PP. PENALTIES: (3) NU: Tyler Tompkins (holding-minor, 2 min), 8:30 … (4) W: Teddy Kluesner (roughing-minor, 2 min), 12:30 … (5) NU: Lahoussine Salama (roughing-minor, 2 min), 12:30 … (6) NU: Zachary Maret (slashing-minor, 2 min), 17:34.
THIRD PERIOD – (2) W: Gunnar Sibley 1 (Tyler Misialek 5, Frank Guimont 2), 6:34 … (3) W: Anthony Foster 6 (Braden Fairbanks 6, Jeremiah Konkel 14), 7:35 … (4) W: Ben Luedtke 9 (Sibley 3), 11:17 SH … (5) W: Elbridge DeKraai 7 (Guimont 3, Collin Kerchoff 16), 14:13. PENALTIES: (7) W: Kluesner (cross checking-minor, 2 min), 9:57.
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Willmar: Will Kunka 29/29 … New Ulm: Nolan Lacosse 47/52.
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