HUDSON, Wis.-- In a possible playoff preview, the fourth-ranked Hudson boys’ hockey team handed No. 2 Wausau West its third loss of the season with a 3-2 victory Saturday, Feb. 8, in Wausau.
The victory boosted Hudson’s record to 17-4-0 while Wausau West slipped to 18-3-0 with the Division 1, Section 1 playoff pairings set to be released this week. The Raiders and Warriors are expected to battle it out for the No. 1 seed in the 13-team section.
Hudson struck early Saturday night in Wausau when Nolan Wagner put back the rebound of a shot by Zach Kochendorfer that hit the post 1 minute, 55 seconds into the first period. Carter Mears also got an assist on the goal.
The Raiders went up 2-0 three minutes into the second when Sam Ross dished the puck tp Peyton Hanson on a two-on-one and Hanson converted the backhander for his team-leading 25th goal of the season.
Wausau West answered with a goal off a rebound two minutes later to make it a 2-1 game but the Raiders got their two-goal cushion back when Kochendorfer won a faceoff back to Mears, who’s wrister snuck through traffic at the 13:27 mark of the second to five Hudson a 3-1 lead after two.
The Warriors got a goal with an extra skater on the ice with 1:08 remaining but that’s as close as they could get as Hudson hung on for the 3-2 win.
Hudson goalie Alex Ripplinger finished with 26 saves as the Raiders outshot the Warriors 33-28.
Hudson returns to Big Rivers Conference action at home against Rice Lake at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11.