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Roundup: WarHawks let another go

SAUK RAPIDS -- Third period struggles continued for the Willmar WarHawks on Saturday night, allowing four goals in the final frame to Granite City in a 5-3 loss in Sauk Rapids.

SAUK RAPIDS - Third period struggles continued for the Willmar WarHawks on Saturday night, allowing four goals in the final frame to Granite City in a 5-3 loss in Sauk Rapids.

The third period has been a continual source of frustration for the young WarHawks who have allowed 41 third period goals--55 percent of the team's goals allowed.

"We have to be mature enough to finish that game," said WarHawks head coach Chris Blaisuis. "We haven't closed a game in awhile so some of the players start to feel it coming. We need to go in winning in the third and assert ourselves."

The WarHawks played a strong first two periods, battling back after allowing the first goal of the game to Granite City's Jack Walter 5:52 into the first period. They bounced back four minutes later with a power play goal from Max Oelkers to make it 1-1.

The second period was all Willmar, starting with Kyle Wendorf's team-leading 11th goal 5:38 into the second. He was assisted by Oelkers and forward Jacob Dobberstein. It was Dobberstein's 11th assist on the season.

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The WarHawks pushed the lead to 3-1 just a minute later with an Alec Skar goal, his second point on the day. Granite City coach Brad Willner called a timeout immediately after Skar's goal and it proved to be a game changer for the Lumberjacks.

Late in the second, Willmar captain Riley Tigrett was sent to the box for checking from behind and the penalty carried over to the third period, leaving the WarHawks to start a man down. The Lumberjacks capitalized on the power play opportunity as Andrej Jamnicky scored just 49 seconds into the period.

Jamnicky followed that up with another goal two minutes later to tie the game at 3-3. The momentum clearly in Granite City's favor, the Lumberjacks scored again just eight seconds later with a goal from Owen Sikich. The Lumberjacks added another before the period was out to make the final 5-3.

One positive that came from the game was the return of goaltender Alexander Cathcart. He made 32 saves in returning from a lower-body injury and, despite the five goals allowed, Blaisuis said he's happy to have his No. 1 goalie back.

"For me as a coach it felt great to have him back," Blaisuis said. "His numbers don't look good but he was phenomenal and he has been all year. The guys have plenty of belief in him, almost too much so our aggression can get the better of us sometimes."

Blaisuis said he'll be looking at his veterans in the next coming weeks to "grab the bull by the horns" and "right the ship" as they reach the one-third mark of the season. The WarHawks will need to be sharp against Rochester, their next opponent. The Ice Hawks have struggled this year, sitting with a 3-17 record, but they've beaten Breezy Point, the West Division's top team, indicating there's talent there.

"If you take (Rochester) lightly they will hurt you," Blaisuis said. "We need our fans to show up and support our guys and take care of business."

The puck drops at 7:10 p.m. on Saturday at the Willmar Civic Center.

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Granite City 5, Willmar 3

Willmar (8-9-1)........................ 1 2 0 - 3

Granite City (12-2-3)............... 1 0 4 - 5

FIRST PERIOD - (1) Granite City: Jack Walter (Tucker Brolin) 5:52 (2) Willmar: Max Oelkers (Dylan Gast, Alec Skar) 9:56 pp

SECOND PERIOD - (3) Willmar: Kyle Wendorf (Oelkers, Jacob Dobberstein) 5:38 (4) Willmar: Skar (Riley Dixon, Wyatt Toll) 6:47

THIRD PERIOD - (5) Granite City: Andrej Jamnicky (Brycon Johnson, Jordan Olson) 0:49 pp (6) Granite City: Jamnicky 3:04 (7) Granite City: Owen Sikich (Johnson, Ben Haugo) 3:12 (8) Brandon Bissett (Cole Buhl, Haugo) 6:35

GOALIE SAVES - Willmar: Alexander Cathcart 32 ... Granite City: David Mulligan 23

Girls Hockey

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Marshall 5, Morris/Benson Area 0

Morris/Benson Area allowed an early goal and Marshall didn't look back, beating the Storm 5-0 on Saturday.

Marshall's Rachel VanKeulen got to Storm goaltender Abbey Hoffman first, scoring 44 seconds into the first period. The Tigers added another just more than nine minutes later to put the game at 2-0 after one.

Marshall scored twice in the second and once in the third without facing many shots on their end of the ice. Hoffman finished with 32 saves while Marshall's Alexis Moat stopped all eight shots she faced.

MBA............. 0 0 0 - 0

Marshall...............2 2 1 - 5

FIRST PERIOD - (1) Marshall: Rachel VanKeulen (Jadyn Briffett) 0:44 (2) Marshall: Tessa Coudron (Mikayla Campion) 10:07

SECOND PERIOD - (3) Marshall: Courtney Mauch (Sydney Mauch) 6:28 (4) Marshall: Sydney Mauch (Leoni Geifes) 11:53

THIRD PERIOD - (5) Marshall: Amaya Strivens (Kaitlyn Timm) 9:44

GOALIE SAVES - MBA: Abbey Hoffman 32 ... Marshall: Alexis Moat 8

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