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Junior Hockey: Late charge not enough for Willmar WarHawks

Granite City beats Willmar 4-3 for 30th straight win

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The logo of the new Willmar WarHawks, a NA3HL junior hockey franchise.

WILLMAR β€” The Willmar WarHawks got within a goal of the NA3HL West Division-leading Granite City Lumberjacks on Friday night with a three-goal third period.

But for the white-hot Lumberjacks, a four-goal first period was too deep a hole for the WarHawks to climb out of as Granite City came away a 4-3 winner at the Willmar Civic Center.

The Lumberjacks won their 30th straight game.

Granite City had a pair of first-period goals by Andrew Butler.

At 3:35 of the third period, Collin Kerchoff put in an unassisted goal on the power play to put the WarHawks on the board. Then in the final 10 seconds of the game, Willmar tacked on a pair of scores from Willmar High School grad Elbridge DeKraai, followed by Tate Hammitt.

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Will Kunka made 31 saves in net for Willmar. Granite City’s Quentin Sigurdson made 34 stops in the victory.

The WarHawks are back on their home ice Saturday. They take on the Minnesota Loons at 7:10 p.m.

Granite City 4, Willmar 3

Granite City (34-1-0)          4     0     0 β€” 4
Willmar (20-14-1)                0     0     3 β€” 3FIRST PERIOD –  (1) GC: Wyatt Halvorson 7 (Nicholas Richert 32, Brett Reed 11), 1:01 … (2) GC: Nick Mountain 8 (Carson Van Zuilen 15, Cody Dias 17), 6:11 PP … (3) GC: Andrew Butler 8 (Reed 12, Sean Davidson 15), 11:05 … (4) GC: Butler 9 (Kyle Mortenson 22, Zak Kennett 10), 15:46. PENALTIES: (1) W: Michael Sweetland (boarding-minor, 2 min), 18:41.
SECOND PERIOD –  No goals. PENALTIES: (2) W: Samuel Miller (tripping-minor, 2 min), 18:35.
THIRD PERIOD – (5) W: Collin Kerchoff 11 (unassisted), 3:35 PP … (6) W: Elbridge DeKraai 11 (unassisted), 19:51 … (7) W: Tate Hammitt 3 (Brady O’Brien 23, Anthony Foster 23), 19:56. PENALTIES: (3) GC: Reed (high sticking-minor, 2 min), 1:51 … (4) GC: Kyle Mortenson (high sticking-minor, 2 min), 18:41.
GOALIE SAVES/SHOTS – Granite City: Quentin Sigurdson 34/37 … Willmar: Will Kunka 31/35

Joe Brown is a sports reporter for the West Central Tribune.

He can be reached via email at: jbrown@wctrib.com or his office number: 320-214-4332.
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