New Richmond scored twice in the first 73 seconds of play and added another pair of first period goals on its way to an 8-3 victory over host Wisconsin Rapids Friday evening at the South Wood County Rec Center in the Rapids Invite tournament.
The Tigers started off fast, scoring on the first shift of the game. Defenseman Mikah Kier fired a shot from the left point that was stopped by Rapids goalie Tanner Reany, but the carom bounced out to Hayden Bradbury, and the junior forward buried the rebound for the quick 1-0 lead.
Less than a minute later, Eric Langer picked up a rebound on the low right side and pitchforked a backhander past the goalie from five feet out to give the guests a 2-0 lead. Cole Thomas earned an assist on the goal.
Rapids cut the lead to 2-1 midway through the stanza when Austin Reimer sent a hard on-ice shot back past NR goalie Max Davis after a rebound. Nick Campbell had an assist on the play.
The Tigers would score twice in a span of 16 seconds late in the period to build the lead to 4-1.
First, Brayden Carpenter scored on a rebound with assists to Jens Christensen and Gabe Bottolfson to increase the margin to 3-1.
Then Nick Johnson scored his first of three when Reany lost track of a puck that bounced off his upper body, only to see the New Richmond senior tap it in for the two-goal lead. Bradbury and Garrett Thomas had helpers on the play.
Rapids had a pair of late power play chances but failed to capitalize as the period ended with the 4-1 score. Reany had 11 saves in the period, while Davis stopped four pucks for the Tigers.
Just over a minute into the middle period, Reany made a nice glove save on a Johnson breakaway, negating a high-quality scoring chance for New Richmond.
The Tigers tallied twice in a span of 2:10 in the middle of the period to jack up the lead to 6-1.
Carpenter scored from the low right side and then Johnson added goal number two on a nice backhander from the low right circle. Blake Kretovics and Noah Towberman received assists on the two scores.
Alex Rawding skated on to replace Reany for Rapids, who made seven saves in the period to end with 18 in the game.
The Tigers had a 5-on-3 chance shortly afterward, but Rawding and the Rapids PK unit stepped up, killing off 79 seconds of the two-man advantage. New Richmond had a 3-on-1 bustout, but Isaac Gilbert held strong as the sole defender and then 'RawDog' made a nice glove save.
A couple minutes later, New Richmond (16-4-1) committed two infractions on the same play and sent Rapids out for a 5-on-3 picnic.
The Red Raiders came through almost immediately, as Spencer Sparks scored to cut the lead to 6-2, with Campbell and Gilbert getting assists on the play.
Two minutes later, Langer scored a shorty for his second goal, as his original shot bounced back to him and he refused to fail on try #2.
The period ended with Rawding stopping ten shots, and Davis making three saves.
Rapids (11-11-1) scored early in the third to cut the lead to 7-3. Carson Crotteau skated down the right side and snapped a quick shot from the right circle that ticked off the glove of Davis and into the net just 53 seconds into the final period. Isaac Evenson and Colton Flammini earned assists on the play.
Johnson finished off the scoring and earned his hattie with just over four minutes left on a shot from the left circle that beat the goalie high glove. Kier earned his second helper on the play.
The horn sounded on an 8-3 win for New Richmond, who will take on West Salem at 5pm Saturday for the Invite title. Rapids and Monona Grove will face-off for the third place spot at 2:30pm.
Davis made six stops in the period for a total of 13, earning his first varsity win. Rawding stopped nine for a game total of 19.