The Hastings Raiders boys’ hockey team is headed to the Section 1AA championship game after they beat the Lakeville North Panthers 6-4 Saturday in Rochester to advance. The Raiders are the No. 3 seed in the section and lost to No. 2 Lakeville North just 11 days earlier 4-1 in Lakeville. It was Hastings’ second revenge game in a row, they beat the No. 6 Farmington Tigers 7-5 on Thursday at Hastings Civic Arena after tying the Tigers 3-3 in late January.
“They were high-scoring games but I think that we’re playing a good style for us,” said head coach Adam Welch about the wins over Lakeville North and Farmington. “The best part is that our guys have done a great job of finishing around the net. That was one of our problems when we would kind of get into trouble, we would always get chances but it was just a matter if we could finish or not.”
Hastings has always been a high-scoring team and more than comfortable in shootouts like the past two games. However, Welch said he’s not worried about giving up nine goals in two games.
“That’s the way we want to play as we continue to press forward. Against Farmington it ended up being a 7-5 game but being up 5-1 at one point and then 7-4 until about two minutes left, that’s why we want to continue to press. Lakeville North, that team is a team that’s going to score a lot of goals too.”
Even though the Raiders won both games by two goals apiece, it has not come easy as they have had to weather their opponents’ best shots and even come from behind. Welch said handling that adversity has been a strength of his team this season.
“We’ve done a really good job this year of not letting things bother us as much or not having things go our way right away. Even against Lakeville North, they took an early lead but our guys bounced back and continued to play hard. Against Farmington we had a 5-1 lead and then they (Farmington) come back and all of a sudden it was 5-4. Our guys handled those situations, they have handled those situations awesome this year.”
Lakeville North struck first when they scored 1 minute, 18 seconds into the game on a power play. Hastings tied it up on a goal by junior Jonathon Peine 5:03 into the first period, assisted by seniors Chase Freiermuth and Jack Klimek, and then took a 2-1 lead with six minutes left in the period on another goal by Peine. Hastings went up 3-1 just a few minutes later on a power-play goal by Freiermuth. The Panthers scored with under three minutes left in the period and it was 3-2 Raiders at the end of the first period.
One minute, 29 seconds into the second period, junior Jax Schauer gave Hastings a two-goal lead, 4-2, but Lakeville North answered two minutes later to make it 4-3. With 3:58 left in the second period, the Panthers scored again to tie the game. It was tied 4-4 heading into the third period.
Klimek broke the tie with 4:42 left in the game, assisted by Schauer, and then senior Leo Otto sealed the win with another goal in the final minute.
One of the many standouts from the past two games for the Raiders has been junior Jonathon Peine, who scored three goals and had an assist versus Farmington and then added two more goals against Lakeville North. Welch revealed that Peine has been on a tear at less than full strength.
“Funny thing is he’s actually been sick this week too, we weren’t sure if he was going to be able to play Thursday and Friday again he was still not feeling the best,” Welch said. “He’s been phenomenal, he’s one of those kids who shows up on the score sheet every single night and finishes around the net. You have a guy like Chase (Freiermuth) who attracts a lot of attention and then passes it off to Jonathon who finishes.”
Next up for Hastings is No. 1 seed Lakeville South, who beat No. 4 Rochester Century 5-1 in the game before the Raiders and Lakeville North. Lakeville South and Hastings have not played this year, but the Cougars did beat the Raiders 8-1 in the section semifinals last winter.
“We played them last year in sections and they took it to us pretty well. We got to watch them against Century before our game a little bit, but other than that not too familiar this year with them,” Welch said about the Raiders’ next opponent. “The one thing I do know is that they are very structured and very well coached, they don’t beat themselves. So we have to make sure to create chances on our own, we can’t wait for them to turn pucks over.”
Shootout with Farmington
Goals were not in short supply Thursday night at Hastings Civic Arena as Hastings Raiders boys’ hockey beat the Farmington Tigers 7-5. People say basketball is a game of runs, but so was the Section 1AA playoff game between the two teams. Hastings, the No. 3 seed, scored four unanswered goals between the first and second periods. That run was answered by No. 6 Farmington, who put together three-straight goals of their own in the second period. However, Hastings was able to maintain their lead in the third period and come away with the win.
Senior Chase Freiermuth started the scoring a little over 6 minutes into the first period, assisted by junior Jonathon Peine and senior Jack Klimek. Less than a minute later, Farmington answered with a goal from junior Logan Weierkue, assisted by senior Aaron Gruber. With 5 seconds left in the period, Peine scored with help from Klimek and senior Terry Kuhn and Hastings led 2-1 heading into the second period.
Less than 4 minutes into the second period, Peine scored his second goal of the game with help from Freiermuth which started the Raiders’ run. After killing a Tiger power play, Peine scored again, assisted by junior Jax Schauer for the hat trick. Just over 7 minutes into the period, sophomore Jake Harris scored a power-play goal assisted by Kuhn and senior Alex Foster. Hastings led 5-1 midway through the period.
From there, it was Farmington’s turn to go on a run. Junior Logan Lukasezck scored less than a minute after Harris’ goal, assisted by sophomore Ryan Holmstrom. With 5 minutes, 21 seconds left in the second period, Gruber scored the Tigers’ second goal in a row with help from Holmstrom and then with 3:18 left Weierke scored his second goal of the game on a power play with help from seniors Ryan Rouleau and Cade Marschall. This cut Hastings’ lead to 5-4 heading into the third period.
With 12 minutes remaining, Kuhn scored on a long-range snipe from the right wing, assisted by senior Keean LaFerriere. Then with 7:28 left Freiermuth scored his second goal of the night unassisted and the Raiders led 7-4. Farmington attempted to make a comeback by pulling their goalie with several minutes left in the game, but they managed just one goal by senior Kyle Berg (assisted by Lukaseczk) and 7-5 was the final.