RIVER FALLS, Wis.-- The Wildcat boys’ hockey team has held its own in the Division 1 dominated Big Rivers Conference this season, and it was rewarded by receiving the No. 2 seed in its eight-team Division 2 sectional when the playoffs begin Thursday, Feb. 20.
River Falls, 6-14-2 overall, 3-7-1 in the BRC, will open the postseason at home against No. 7 Viroqua (4-14-0) next Thursday after wrapping up the regular season against Chippewa Falls and Chisago Lakes this week. The winner will face either No. 3 Somerset (11-10-1) or No. 6 Black River Falls (8-13-0) Tuesday, Feb. 25 at the home of the higher seed. Baldwin-Woodville (11-8-3) earned the No. 1 seed in the sectional.
The Cats dropped a pair of BRC games last week, losing 5-2 Tuesday, Feb. 4, at Rice Lake and 3-0 Thursday, Feb. 6 at Eau Claire Memorial.
The Wildcats gave up three power play goals at Rice Lake, including two in the final nine minutes to help the Warriors (8-11-1, 3-7-0) to pull away.
Rice Lake opened the scoring early in the second period and added a 5-on-3 power play goal shortly after before Braedon Harer cut the lead in half with 3:30 left in the period with assists from Ethan Hull and Steven Klechefski.
Tye Kusilek tied the score with 11:53 left in the third with Noah LaVold and Clayton Carlson assisting but the Warriors scored the final three goals of the game, the last two on power plays, to earn the 5-3 win.
Thursday night Eau Claire Memorial (10-9-1, 7-2-1) scored all three of its goals in the second period, including one on a power play, to shut out the Wildcats 3-0. River Falls’ goalie Andrew Adermann made 32 saves as the Old Abes outshot the Cats 35-16.
River Falls will wrap up the regular season this week at home against Chippewa Falls (18-4-0, 7-3-0) Tuesday, Feb. 11 and at Chisago Lakes (13-10-0) Thursday, Feb. 13.